Social Innovation: Can Apple become a Solar Game Changer?

How one of the most innovative companies is changing into one of the most socially innovative companies.
Nov 8, 2011 12:34 PM ET
Campaign: CSR Blogs

Posted by Sangeeta Haindl

There are rumours that Apple wants to embrace social innovation and build a big solar farm to power its newly built, $1 billion data centre in North Carolina, and that it will reshape the land to make it more suitable for solar panels. The late Steve Jobs said he wanted to make the North Carolina centre "as eco-friendly as you can make a modern data centre." In reality these computer places are extremely air-conditioned, making them gas-guzzling monsters; some require nearly 50 times more power than a comparable sized office space.

Apple has not made any formal announcement regarding these social innovation plans. Its data centre went live this spring. The 500,000-square-foot facility is five times the size of Apple's previous data place in Newark, California. It be will be used to power the company's new iCloud service, which offers up to 5 GB of free online storage to Apple users. However, in April this year, Greenpeace, the environmental group focused on energy practices in cloud computing (a new digital storage and syncing service) called out Apple for relying on "dirty" energy for its $1 billion data centre in Maiden, North Carolina.

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.