Greenpeace Challenges Facebook to Go Green by Earth Day

Social Networking Site Has No Public Plan To Stop Using Coal Power

Press release - 3 February, 2011
3 February, 2011 San Francisco – Greenpeace today issued a bold challenge to social networking giant Facebook, calling on it to embrace a clean energy future by committing by Earth Day (April 22nd) to make a plan that would end its use of coal to provide electricity to the company’s rapidly expanding computer network.

This latest move in Greenpeace’s “Facebook: Unfriend Coal” campaign, already backed by 600,000 supporters (1), follows last week’s recorded interview (2) at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo discussed Facebook’s potential to become a world leader in clean energy with Facebook’s director of marketing, Randi Zuckerberg. Naidoo presented Ms. Zuckerberg with a pledge for her brother (3), CEO Mark, to sign by Earth Day.  The pledge calls upon Facebook to agree by April 22nd to what Greenpeace calls The Big IDEA, which is a commitment to:

    • Increase Facebook’s use of clean energy;
    • Develop a plan to mitigate Facebook’s climate footprint and to become coal free by 2021;
    • Educate Facebook users about how the company powers its services.
    • Advocate for clean energy at a local, national and international level.

“Facebook has become a household name used every day by millions of people; unfortunately, it’s relying on 19th century dirty coal power to deliver its 21st century services,” said Greenpeace energy campaigner Casey Harrell. “People from all over the world are asking the website they love to lead the Energy Revolution by un-friending coal. Will Mark Zuckerberg rise to the challenge?”

The campaign to green Facebook is expanding into new languages and countries, including France, Indonesia, New Zealand, UK, and Turkey. Student groups are taking the message to US university campuses and educating their classmates about Facebook’s growing footprint. In the coming weeks, students will be telling Facebook staff that they want their online life to be green. (4)

“Facebook’s visionary approach to business changed how we live our lives online,” Harrell said. “The company has a real opportunity to lead by example by extending this spirit of innovation to the environment, by showing that businesses can flourish by being clean energy-powered, like Pepsico, and Proctor and Gamble have pledged to do.”

IT companies are rapidly increasing their consumption of electricity, and present one of the largest areas in the growth of electricity demand. The amount of electricity produced and consumed to power just the Internet, would place it 5th if ranked among countries by electricity consumption. (5)

In 2010 Facebook chose to increase demand for coal power when it decided to build its first two data centres, located in Oregon and North Carolina, from utilities that generate a majority of their electricity from coal. (6)   

More detailed information can be found at www.greenpeace.org/unfriendcoal

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Contacts: Daniel Kessler, Communications Manager, Greenpeace International, +1 510-501-1770, ;
Casey Harrell, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace International, + 1 415 307 3382,

Notes to the editor:
1. www.greenpeace.org/unfriendcoal

2. www.huffingtonpost.com/kumi-naidoo/working-with-facebook-for_b_814854.html

3. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/climate/2011/Cool%20IT/Facebook/Facebook_Pledge_Back.pdf,

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/climate/2011/Cool%20IT/Facebook/Facebook_Pledge_Front.pdf

4. http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/getinvolved/get-involved/student-network/

5. www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/make-it-green-cloud-computing/

6. www.greenpeace.org/facebookmediabackgrounder