Future360 spoke with Bill Weihl, Sustainabilty Guru at Facebook. Facebook partnered with the Cleantech Group for the “Cleantech Goes Social” Competition. Weihl spoke of Facebook’s role as a platform for people to solve sustainability problems.
Launching the competition seemed to be a good way to get interesting ideas. The contest, which was launched few months ago, received 72 submissions. Crowdfunding solar startup, Sunfunder, was announced as the winner.
When it comes to sustainability initiatives at Facebook, the company is working on two fronts. The first is the company’s own operations: data centers; office operations; and employees — the commuting that they do, business travel, etc. Facebook is looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact in terms of energy, waste, water, carbon. They are currently working with partners in the IT industry to develop more efficient data centers and have open sourced their designs to make them accessible to everyone.
The other is the platform. Facebook is looking for ways to catalyze and encourage others to further their mission in solving sustainability problems. Weihl cited storytelling as an important way people interact on Facebook. Getting people to act around sustainability orientated issues like using less energy or buying more sustainable products or committing to a cause, telling stories that engage people is really important.