Apple's flagship Regent Street store in London today was the target of a Greenpeace protest that saw the store infiltrated by campaigners during the busy lunchtime period, engaging with staff and customers alike and handing out pieces of coal shaped like the Apple logo.
Greenpeace's protest was aimed towards highlighting what they feel is Apple's lack of environmental friendliness when it comes to their iCloud cloud storage service, and the running of the giant data centres that support it. A recent report by the eco-friendly group stated that coal accounts for 55% of Apple's data centre fuel. It's a particularly dirty energy source, and one that's likely to be used again by Apple once construction of a huge new data centre in Maiden, North Carolina, is completed.
"Apple is a worldwide brand that is renowned for its innovative products that have set the agenda for computers and telecommunications in recent decades, with an immensely loyal customer base. Many of their customers will be surprised and shocked that Apple are using coal to power the iCloud," said Jim Footner Senior Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace.
"The Irony is that Apple has shown that it can be environmentally responsible - their European HQ is exclusively powered by renewable energy. So if they can run their HQ with clean power then they can do it for customers' iclouds. If they fail to change course the clean image that Apple have worked so hard to develop over many years will be destroyed."
Apple however has contested claims from Greenpeace that its North Carolina data centre will be predominately coal powered. Apple instead claim that 60% of the power needed to run the site will eventually be generated by onsite solar farm and fuel-cell installations.
Greenpeace did have good things to say about rivals Google, Yahoo! and Facebook though, who they highlighted as leading the sector down a "clean energy pathway through innovations in energy efficiency, prioritising renewable energy access when siting their data centres, and demanding better energy options from utilities and government decision-makers".
For more info on the Greenpeace campaign, click here.