Facebook commits to clean energy future

Press release - December 16, 2011
Amsterdam -- Greenpeace and Facebook today announced that they will collaborate on the promotion of renewable energy, encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy generation, and develop programmes that will enable Facebook users to save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions (1).

The news comes two years after Greenpeace launched its global Unfriend Coal Campaign (2, 3), enlisting 700,000 online activists (4) to call on Facebook to power its datacentres with clean energy instead of coal (5).  As a result of the announcement the campaign ends today.

“Greenpeace and Facebook will now work together to encourage major energy producers to move away from coal and instead invest in renewable energy. This move sets an example for the industry to follow”, said Tzeporah Berman, Co-director of Greenpeace’s International Climate and Energy Program. “This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities”. 

Facebook’s goal (1), announced today, is to power its operations, including its data centres, using clean and renewable energy. (6)  The company will build on its leadership in energy efficiency through the Open Compute Project (7) to encourage other IT companies to power its operations with clean, renewable energy. 

"Facebook looks forward to a day when our primary energy sources are clean and renewable, and we are working with Greenpeace and others to help bring that day closer," said Marcy Scott Lynn of Facebook's sustainability program. "As an important step, our datacenter siting policy now states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy.  Another important step will be to work with Greenpeace to put the power of our platform to use for the environment. Greenpeace has been particularly effective using Facebook to spark environmental awareness and action, we are excited to work with them to explore new ways in which people can use Facebook to engage and connect on the range of energy issues that matter most to them – from their own energy efficiency to access to cleaner sources of energy." 

As part of the agreement, the social media giant will continue pursuing on-going research into energy efficiency and the open sharing of that technology through the Open Compute Project which Greenpeace will work to support.  Facebook also plans to engage in dialogue with utility providers about the sources of energy that power their data centres.

“Facebook’s commitment to renewable energy raises the bar for other IT and cloud computing (8) companies such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Twitter,” said Casey Harrell, Senior IT Analyst for Greenpeace International. ‘‘The Facebook campaign proved that people all over the world want their social networks powered by renewable energy, and not by coal.  Greenpeace will continue to measure, report and campaign on the sector’s progress to green the cloud”. 

Greenpeace and Facebook have also agreed to develop and promote experiences on Facebook that help people and organizations connect with ways to save energy and engage their communities in clean energy issues.   Greenpeace makes extensive use of Facebook to engage its supporters in campaigns, and is the most 'liked' environmental non-profit organization on Facebook (9).

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning organisation that acts to change attitudes and behaviour, to protect and conserve the environment and to promote peace.



1. Details of the announcement, Facebook and Greenpeace Collaboration on Clean and Renewable Energy: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/Global/international/publications/climate/2011/Cool%20IT/Facebook/Facebook_Statement.pdf

2. Unfriend Coal Campaign: http://www.greenpeace.org/unfriendcoal

3. Campaign Timeline link: http://www.greenpeace.org/unfriendcoal

4. The Unfriend Coal Campaign was supported by over 700,000 Facebook users in 14 countries, and set the Guinness World Record for most Facebook comments in one day: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/news/Blogs/Cool-IT/facebook-world-record-attempt-begins-now/blog/34222/. 

5. Tzeporah Berman, Greenpeace International Co-director Climate and Energy Program - thanks Facebook supporters: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/facebook-video-tzeporah/

6. The energy used to power data centres, such as those operated by Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, IBM and other major IT companies that deliver online services is significant, totalling more than 2% of US electricity demand, and is projected to grow 12% or more per year.  Videos, pictures and other data are stored in a high tech “cloud” (8) which delivers data to homes and offices in real time.  This cloud is often located in areas that are heavily dependent on electricity from a variety of sources, including coal, which is negatively impacting human health and the environment and is the largest source of global warming pollution.  If the cloud was a country, it would be the 5th largest in the world in terms of electricity use. (10)

7. The Open Compute Project (OCP) is an industry wide group that works to design and enable the delivery of the most efficient server, storage and data centre hardware designs for scalable computing. http://opencompute.org/

8. Cloud computing is a way of storing and sharing data on the internet. Broadly speaking the cloud allows you to share computer resources on the internet instead of using software or storage on a local PC. It allows online access to items such as webmail, stream music and social networking.

9. More than 3.8m users like our Facebook Pages, including almost 1m people who like the Greenpeace International page. According to Devex.com, the Greenpeace International page ranks top on Facebook among NGOs related to global development issues, including environmental groups.

10. Report: How Dirty is your Data? http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/How-dirty-is-your-data/


Greenpeace International 24 press desk hotline +31 20 718 24 70

Media requests: Caroline Jacobsson, Greenpeace International Communications Manager (the Netherlands), mobile: +32 6 21296896, email:

Tzeporah Berman, Greenpeace International Co-director Climate and Energy Program (Vancouver), mobile: 1-604-313-4713 email:

Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International, Senior IT Analyst (Tokyo), mobile: + 1 415 307 3382, email:

Facebook media requests: Mike Kirkland, +1 415 793 5571, email:

Picture desk: John Novis, Picture Editor (Amsterdam), phone: +44 (0) 207 865 8230, email: