Facebook Saves Face, Joins Verizon, Sony, Microsoft in Green Coalition

Its fast-growing server farms are eating up electricity, much of it from coal plants, so Facebook got some much-needed cover today. But is it just greenwashing?



Facebook is the latest digital giant to join the Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC), a nonprofit launched in 2008 that brings together leaders in the information technology industry to work on environmental and energy consumption issues. The social network joins Intel, Verizon, Sony, Cisco, AMD, Microsoft, and Hewlett-Packard in the campaign, which works on sustainable best practices for large technology companies.

So why did Facebook join? “Our ongoing philosophy has been to improve the efficiency of our
infrastructure and we continue to invest tremendous resources to improve
our own operations,” says Jonathan
Heiliger, Vice President of Technical Operations at Facebook, in a statement. “By creating and sharing innovative technology
solutions, we hope to help raise the visibility of the importance of
environmental sustainability across all industries.”

And let’s not forget that Facebook needs to save face–the network came under fire this year for relying on coal power at its new Pineville, Oregon data center.

That’s not to say Facebook isn’t making some genuine attempts at sprucing up its environmental practices. As part of its DESC announcement, the company launched the “Green on Facebook” page, which highlights the company’s “efforts to be a green and sustainable global citizen.” So far, that includes Facebook’s data center energy saving techniques, as well as environmental initiatives from a number of other companies. At the very least, the page might actually get large numbers of Facebook users (nearly 10,000 people have “liked” the page so far) excited about dry environmental topics–such as data center management.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

About the author

Ariel Schwartz is a Senior Editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine and more