It appears that search engine optimization (SEO) isn’t just for companies looking to increase their visibility in a positive sense, but it can also be used to potentially embarrass some industry executives – as one environmental group is discovering.

SEO company bigmouthmedia points out that Greenpeace is using the power of search engine optimization (SEO) against some of the world’s biggest leaders in the IT industry with its Cool IT Challenge.

On its website, Greenpeace has taken a list of a dozen CEOs in the IT world – including Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and Sun Microsystem’s Jonathan Schwartz and created virtual trading cards for each one listing their company’s environmental impact.

Although the site seems to present the program as a sort of game, it’s clear that the mission is to embarrass these leaders into changing stances when it comes to the environment.

On the main page of the challenge, Greenpeace notes its pages dedicated to Fujitsu president Kuniaki Nozoe and Sharp CEO Katsuhiko Machida both rank high in Google search for their names. The environmental group points out that this is part of their strategy to change the mindset of IT leaders.

"Greenpeace webpages are often #1 or #2 in web search engines like Google and Yahoo for popular environmental keywords, because people link to us about those topics," says the organization. "With your help we can make this webpage the first thing [the IT CEO] sees when he Googles himself!"