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Greenpeace, Top Users Tell Pinterest: 'Make Our Pins Green'

Image credit: Greenpeace

On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists and influential users of Pinterest asked the social network and visual search tool to become the next tech company to power its platform with renewable energy at a demonstration outside of the company’s headquarters.

The activists set up two 13’ tall, 15’ wide “pinboards” outside of Pinterest’s office in the SOMA neighborhood of San Francisco, each featuring real-life “pins” with the message, “Make Our Pins Green.” Designers, photographers and other influential Pinterest users who are partnering with Greenpeace’s #clickclean campaign for a renewably powered Internet designed many of the pins on the boards.

The demonstration featured pins designed by eight Pinterest users who have close to five million followers combined.

“As a mom of three boys who are very technology savvy, paired with my role in social media - with Pinterest an integral part of what I use every day — it would great to be positively part of helping Pinterest’s platform go green,” said Paula Coop McCrory, a visual artist with over four million followers on Pinterest. “Being environmentally friendly is important to me and my family. I'd love to be able to say that Pinterest is now going green, too.”


Greenpeace's Rolf Skar,
speaker at
Sustainable Brands 2014
San Diego

The activists also set up a solar-powered café outside the headquarters in a small trailer, painted with a green Pinterest logo and topped with functioning solar panels. They offered Pinterest employees cupcakes iced with a green Pinterest logo, and coffee kept warm by burners powered by the solar panels.

As Greenpeace highlighted in its Clicking Clean report, released last month, Apple, Facebook and Google have all proactively committed to powering their operations with 100 percent renewable energy, as have other fast-growing Internet companies including SAP, Box and Salesforce.

Pinterest is growing fast, with an estimated 70 million users who have created 750 million boards and 30 billion pins, yet the company has yet to commit to powering its growing energy footprint with renewables, or to share details about the size of its energy footprint. 

The Clicking Clean report detailed how the Internet’s energy footprint is growing rapidly, and how burgeoning companies such as Pinterest risk tying the new digital economy to old, polluting forms of energy if they do not shift toward renewable energy.

Pinterest is powered by Amazon Web Services, as are other Web-based giants Netflix, Spotify, Vine, Yelp, Airbnb and Reddit. Amazon Web Services’ data centers are presently powered by only 15 percent renewable energy — the rest of its electricity comes from coal, gas and nuclear power, according to the report.

Greenpeace’s #clickclean campaign is pushing all major Internet companies to make the shift to renewables. Last month, activists unveiled a new green bird logo for Twitter outside the company’s San Francisco headquarters, and urged the company to commit to 100 percent renewable energy.

Greenpeace is inviting Pinterest users to join the campaign by pinning content from pinterest.com/greenpeaceusa/clickclean.

Greenpeace has had a banner year, fostering game-changing, industry-wide momentum behind such topical issues as increasing the sustainability of palm oil production and working to eliminate toxins from textiles.


Jennifer Elks is Managing Editor of Sustainable Brands. She is a writer, editor and foodie who is passionate about improving food systems, closing loops and creating more livable cities. She loves cooking, wine, cooking with wine, correcting spelling errors in… [Read more about Jennifer Elks]