Facebook, Other Companies, Promote Green Efforts on Facebook

Today, Facebook announced the launch of its Green on Facebook Page, a place the company hopes to highlight environmentally-focused efforts. The Page currently has about 9,000 Likes and information about Facebook’s corporate green and energy efficiency programs, as well as links to its green partners.

While Facebook is already home to other environmental efforts, the company itself has made a renewed effort to frame itself as environmentally conscious. That effort might be in part a reaction — environmental activist group Greenpeace has been waging a campaign to criticize the company for using partly coal-derived electricity to power its servers.

In addition to launching the Green Page, Facebook noted in a press release that the company recently partnered with Alliance to Save Energy and donated $500,000 in advertising to promote Living Efficiently. It has also has continued to write detailed technical posts on mechanisms it has in place to save energy at its various data facilities, with the latest coming out yesterday.

So what’s the issue? The particular grid Facebook is on at its big new Oregon center does rely somewhat more heavily on coal (58%) than the national average (50%), but the company has countered by pointing out that the climate and its own practices help reduce overall energy consumption. Does Facebook deserve the special criticism from Greenpeace because of its use of coal-based power?

Pollution from coal power is a global problem that millions of energy consumers are contributing to — Greenpeace knows what it’s doing in picking its target. Facebook is a global company, known and used by more than 500 billion users, and is itself is a valuable medium for rallying people around causes.

Corporate Environmental Responsibility Marketing

Facebook isn’t the only corporate entity to take its green message to Facebook — lots of big companies are doing so, too. Cisco, Clorox and NBC Universal also have created green Pages on Facebook to promote their environmental efforts and green products and practices.

Green is Universal is run by NBC Universal to encourage their 8,100 Facebook fans to adopt green habits, especially with a new application — Make Green Count — set for release this weekend. The app aims to help NBC consumers figure out how to be more green with simple changes to their lifestyle and then share these stories on the Green is Universal Page. Some Facebook users will receive coupons for their efforts, too, and the company is also hoping to raise monies for wildlife restoration through the Page.

Clorox has created a Page for its Green Works line of natural cleaning products and has more than 99,000 Likes. The Page offers cleaning tips, information and opportunities for fan interaction; the company is very active in conversation with Facebook fans on the Wall. Clorox is taking the opportunity to promote its products here, preview products, provide safety information, get feedback and help users participate in green-related sweepstakes.

Cisco’s One Million Acts of Green has a Facebook Page that is part of a larger web effort aimed at preventing climate change. The Page’s 1,400 fans have a chance to make a pledge to be more green themselves, take polls, learn tips and generally get involved.

Greenpeace itself provides a quality counterpoint to corporate environmental marketing efforts, in that it has done a smart job of harnessing Facebook users around its campaigns. It has Pages in multiple countries and the Greenpeace International Page has 671,000 Likes — a notably higher number than company-driven green Pages. The group’s landing Page is a tab called Unfriend Coal that asks visitors to urge Facebook to stop using coal-generated power. And it has previous successes, like its efforts to pressure confectioner Nestle to move away from environmentally-damaging palm oil suppliers.