Greenpeace ‘Friends’ Facebook As Social Network Pledges to Switch to Sustainable Energy

After nearly two years of campaigning, Greenpeace has finally 'friended' Facebook as the social network has pledged to switch to sustainable energy to run its servers.

The Unfriend Coal campaign lasted 20 months, and was launched when Facebook announced it would build a coal-powered data center in Prineville, Oregon. It was nearly two years of campaigning, negotiations and silly puns to get to the truce announced yesterday (Dec. 15). The peace-making process started earlier this year when Facebook opened up its Prineville plant, the epicenter of the contention, in an attempt to open source ways to build greener datacenters.

Now, Facebook has committed to develop programs with Greenpeace so that the social network’s 800 million users can “save energy and engage their communities in clean energy decisions. The possibilities for helping to empower and mobilise people around the world to launch an energy revolution are staggering!,” Greenpeace said in a statement.

Facebook made the announcement on its Green on Facebook page, where it said: “While we didn’t agree with Greenpeace about everything, there were two significant areas where we couldn’t agree more: that Facebook the service can be a tremendous tool to activate people to effect positive environmental change and that Facebook the company can do more reduce its environmental impact. That’s why we’re excited to announce that we will be working with Greenpeace to move everyone closer to a world powered by clean and renewable energy, and to use the Facebook platform to engage people on energy and environmental issues.”

More specifically, Facebook and Greenpeace will be working on a number of initiatives together. One of them is to state a preference for access to clean and renewable energy supply in Facebook’s data center siting policy. Besides, the internet giant will engage in a dialogue with its utility providers about increasing the supply of clean energy that power its data centers.

“We’ll also continue to invest in energy efficiency and the open sharing of that technology through the Open Compute Project and continue to pursue clean energy solutions for our future data centers,” it added."Our datacenter siting policy now states a preference for access to clean and renewable energy," said Facebook’s sustainability Chief Marcy Scott Lynn. "Another important step will be to work with Greenpeace to put the power of our platform to use for the environment,” he added.

For its part, Greenpeace will actively support the Open Compute Project, encouraging companies to join the effort, use the technology, and share their efficiency technology. It will also recognize as leaders those companies that develop and share efficiency technologies.

Besides, the NGO will encourage utility providers to offer ways for customers to get their utility data, including by joining the partnership with Facebook, OPOWER and Natural Resources Defense Council) announced earlier this year.

Finally, Greenpeace will also continue to use the Facebook platform to promote environmental awareness and action, helping people engage and connect on the range of energy issues they are interested in.

Image credit: Greenpeace