Greenpeace campaign to ‘green’ Facebook by 22 April

10 Feb 2011

Greenpeace has set Earth Day as the deadline for Facebook to ‘unfriend coal’ and instead power up its data centres with renewables. Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo has met with Randi Zuckerberg, Facebook’s marketing director and the sister of CEO Mark Zuckerberg, inviting Facebook to pledge to become a clean-energy leader.

Randi Zuckerberg’s response to Naidoo, who is executive director, Greenpeace, in late January 2001, was: “As a company, we’ve had a lot of discussion about how we can use more sustainable, renewable energies … we will love having you as a partner in that.”

The Greenpeace campaign itself now has more than 600,000 followers, a reflection of just how concerned people are about sustainability and the way large IT giants such as Facebook conduct their businesses.

In a report on the Greenpeace website, Naidoo says Facebook now needs to direct its “huge purchasing power to choose clean energy sources.”

“The longer they continue without a public plan, the more our campaign will heat up – and the more we’ll be asking you to participate,” explains Naidoo.

Ironically, people can follow the Greenpeace campaign on Facebook itself, asking Facebook to unfriend coal.

Recounting his mission to ‘green’ Facebook to date, Naidoo says he sent Mark Zuckerberg a formal letter in September 2010, urging him to take responsibility for the company’s growing carbon footprint and to show climate leadership, which is a focus of the Greenpeace Cool IT Challenge. (Facebook had announced at the time that it was planning to double its data centre capacity).

So far, in response to the challenge from Greenpeace, Naidoo says Facebook has showcased its energy initiatives, as well as inviting the former US vice-president and now environmental activist Al Gore, to its Palo Alto, California, headquarters to speak to Facebook staff.

Gore himself launched the Repower America campaign in 2008 and is the author of An Inconvenient Truth, which details the threat of and solutions to global warming. It has since been made into a documentary film of the same name.

Kumi Naidoo Greenpeace

Facebook must show Cool IT leadership – Naidoo

However, Naidoo (pictured above) says that now is the time for Facebook to act on its coal usage – both for its current data centres in Oregon and North Carolina and for its future data centre growth.

“If Facebook unfriends coal, their leadership could spark a wave of responsible energy choices across the IT industry – forecast to be the most rapidly-growing electricity consuming sector of the next decade,” added Naidoo.

Shut Down Fbook for Earth Hour

Meanwhile, the Shut Down Fbook for Earth Hour group has just launched on Facebook. At the time of writing, the group had 432 Likes.

Earth Hour 2011 is taking place on Saturday, 26 March 2011, at 8.30pm (local time).

Earth Hour, a global grass-roots movement, is encouraging individuals, governments and businesses globally to show their commitment to the planet by switching off their lights for one designated hour from 8.30pm on that day.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic