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Facebook Caves to Greenpeace, Plans to Run on ‘Clean, Renewable Energy’

After months of being bashed by Greenpeace (what Facebook now calls a “unique and creative campaign”) over its environmental practices – specifically the use of coal power to fire up its data centers – Facebook has announced, in a joint statement with the activist group, that it plans to run on “clean, renewable energy.”

In addition, Greenpeace climate campaigners and Facebook’s head of sustainability will collaborate in the promotion renewable energy and encourage major utilities to develop renewable energy sources.

Facebook has also committed to develop programs with Greenpeace so that Facebook users can save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions.

Here’s what the two organizations have agreed to:

By Facebook
• Adopting a siting policy that states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy supply.
• Ongoing research into energy efficiency and the open sharing of that technology through the Open Compute Project.
• Ongoing research into clean energy solutions for our future data centers.
• Engaging in a dialogue with our utility providers about increasing the supply of clean energy that power Facebook data centers.

By Greenpeace
• Active support for the Open Compute Project, including encouraging companies to join the effort, use the technology, and share their efficiency technology.
• Encouraging utility providers to offer ways for customers to get their utility data, including by joining the partnership with Opower, Facebook, and NRDC.
• Recognize company leadership in advancing best practices in efficiency or sustainability technology through the open source sharing of design and technology advances.

• Working together 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.
• Co-hosting roundtables and discussions with experts on energy issues.
• Jointly engaging other large energy users and producers to address the energy choice they are facing and develop new clean energy rather than recommission coal plants or build new coal plants.

On its own, Facebook has already made a number of clean energy decisions:

Facebook is planning to create both electricity and hot water with a solar energy system at its new Menlo Park, Calif., headquarters.

Facebook has unveiled a green data center that it says uses 38 percent less energy to do the same work as its existing facilities, while costing 24 percent less – and the company says it wants other companies to adopt its technology.

Facebook engineers developed a programming language, HipHop for PHP, which allowed its servers to do the same amount of work with half the number of servers.

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12 thoughts on “Facebook Caves to Greenpeace, Plans to Run on ‘Clean, Renewable Energy’

  1. Why would anyone cave in to Greenpeace, a totally hypocritical organization that dares not criticize China for its fossil fuel emissions, or the fact that China is the world’s largest nuclear power plant builder with 11 nuclear power plants in operation.

    Yet anti-nuclear Greenpeace has the audacity to take on little old Finland which plans to build one nuclear plant! Go figure.

    And let’s not get into the Canadian oil sands which receives unfounded criticism from Greenpeace, among other so-called environmental groups.

    Just ask Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace how far the organization has strayed from it original morale compass.


  2. The use of language in this piece is despicable. Clean energy and environmental sustainability are necessary if we’re to be able to live on this earth for another century. Fossil fuel-based generation is killing people by polluting the environment. Facebook is making the right choice, no matter who “pressured” them into doing it. Not to mention that, as the article states, it will save Facebook money on energy costs. I can’t believe the tone and language used by the author of this article. It suggests that Facebook’s decision was forced and therefore not necessarily the right decision, which is a faulty conclusion. Congratulations to Facebook for “caving” to protection of the environment and the public.

  3. Kudos to Facebook for taking this bold step toward a clean energy future. The Greenpeace-Facebook campaign and ensuing joint press release about the “solution” reminds me of the successful Texas Campaign for the Environment initiative to “encourage” Dell to not only be responsible for taking back their equipment but to quit using prison labor or exports to handle it and help build the jobs related to recycling in the US. They shared the glory of the win together in public.
    I also loved to read about Facebook’s hardware and programming innovations that cut energy use! Those are cutting edge!

  4. Wow, you do reveal your biases don’t you. “Caving” is how you describe renewable energy programs? Have always wonder where this site gets its income. Now we know. -jim t.

  5. So when companies buy advertising time on TV, put ads in nwspapers, or post self-serving web pages; all that is just fine. But when a group of citizens launches an ad campaign, suddenly it is “extortion”. Interesting.

  6. The choice of the term “caving” does cast an unduly negative tone on what is an important and positive step. Too bad Facebook needed such arm-twisting, but perhaps the broad/mainstream exposure might encourage others to take the same step.

  7. Yes FB CAVED!
    re: Rory your response was hysterical
    If renewable energy was cheaper than conventional energy, every coal plant would be razed by now. Get a grip dude.

  8. And when consumers respond to the ad campaigns put on by companies by buying their products, that’s also just fine. But when a company responds to an ad campaign put on by a group of citizens, suddenly it’s “caving”. Likewise interesting.

  9. Facebook is the biggest social networking sites today, every person is using facebook to exchange and mutual relationships. Very wise if through facebook to invite more people care about the environment. Knowingly or not if the environmental damage that disrupted not only the handful of people but all people and living things.
    Environmental care movement should be done as a mass movement; so it can be done together.

  10. If we agree that this is good news and something that should encourage other companies to follow, why the gloating and punitive tone? Let’s celebrate and congratulate Facebook for this move, rather than make them feel like a big LOSER who just got their ass handed to them. If you want to see more large enterprises join the race to the top, stop the childish headlines and help them feel like they have something to gain by collaborating with civil society, rather than be paraded as trophies of some juvenile competition.

  11. I agree with Rory Mcllmoil, if we’re to live on this earth for another century, we need clean energy and environmental sustainability. Solar power is the most abundant clean energy source available to us. If we can harness the power of the sun effectively, we can successfully get over the global energy crisis. I think it’s a welcome decision by Facebook to run on “clean, renewable energy”. Other IT companies should adopt this model.

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