Facebook announced today (December 15) it will collaborate on the promotion of renewable energy, encourage major utilities to develop renewables and develop programmes to help its estimated 850m users save energy.

The news comes two years after Greenpeace launched its global Unfriend Coal Campaign, which urged Facebook to ditch coal as its power source of its data centres.

Facebook’s goal, announced today, is to power its operations, including its data centres, using clean and renewable energy.

As part of the agreement Facebook will invest in 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 hopes to engage in dialogue with energy companies about the sources of energy that power its data centres.

“This move sets an example for the industry to follow”, said Greenpeace’s International Climate and Energy Program co-director, Tzeporah Berman.

“This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities.”

Facebook’s sustainability program spokeswoman, Marcy Scott Lynn, said: “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.

“As an important step, our data centre 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.”

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Luke Walsh

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