Green Creeping: Facebook Makes Long Term Commitment to Renewable Energy

Photo Courtesy of Paul Sakuma

Mark Zuckerburg & his digital cultural zenith, Facebook, made news last week by instigating a new corporate focus on sustainability. This new found ‘green’ focus comes on the heels of the Greenpeace lead campaign that urged Facebook to limit its reliance on coal energy. As a result, the social media networking site has committed to initiating the transition of all of its data centers from coal power to clean renewable energy sources.

The company has also taken further steps towards greening both their practices and their image by hiring Google’s former “Green Energy Czar”, Bill Weihl. Weihl is also the Vice-President and Co-Chair of the Board at Climate Savers Computing Initiative and was responsible for “almost all of Google's green initiatives, including its research and investments in clean technologies, and its efforts to reduce energy consumption in its data centers”, according to IT World.Weihl’s focus at Facebook will reportedly be on headlining this transition to clean energy and energy efficiency.

Prior to this apparent green awakening, Facebook was ousted by the Greenpeace “how dirty is your data" report, as being reliant on dirty coal power for 53.2% of its energy needs. This percentage was only outdone by Apple, who relied on coal for 54.5% of it power needs, with a menial 6.7% of used energy coming from renewable clean energy sources.

Moreover, along with the announcement of a greater commitment to renewable energies, Facebook also revealed its plans to build a new data center in Lulea Sweden, which will exclusively use hydroelectric power for its servers and general functioning.

The success of this largely digital campaign highlights the growing responsiveness of IT and data sharing companies to the concerns of their customers. With a downturn in users in developed countries like Canada, Facebook won’t risk alienating any of its community members.