Greenpeace ranks Apple as greenest electronics maker

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
After falling prey to harsh criticism from Greenpeace over its use of toxic chemicals in products for years on end, Apple was honored this week with the environmental advocacy group's top ranking as the greenest electronics maker.



"It's time for a little less conversation and a lot more action on removing toxic chemicals," said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Electronics campaigner. "Apple is leading and HP is playing catch up, but the lack of action from other companies is ensuring that customers and the environment are still losing out."



The Cupertino-based Mac and iPhone maker received gold stars in all four categories identified in Greenpeace's latest electronics guide: desktops, notebooks, cellphones and displays. In each case, the firm said Apple's products were free of the worst hazardous substances plaguing modern-day electronics.



"Companies need to support legislative bans to ensure a consistent phase out of PVC and BFRs across all electronic products," Harrell added. "Sony Ericsson and Apple are already calling on EU institutions to support such a ban. Other big players, such as HP and Dell ? who have so far been silent - and Acer, need to ensure the ban is passed in the European Union parliament."



Saying Greenpeace and Apple have a storied and muddied past would be an understatement. This week's announcement follows years of pressure on the part of Greenpeace, in which the advocacy group made Apple its primary target in the wake of the iPod boom and the Mac's return to stardom.



In August of 2006, Greenpeace issued a report which gave Apple a 2.7 out of 10 environmental-friendly rating, condemning the electronics maker with low scores in almost all of its criteria, including the use of toxic chemicals, recycling, and the quality of its take-back programs.



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"For a company that claims to lead on product design, Apple scores badly on almost all criteria," the group wrote in the report. "The company fails to embrace the precautionary principle, withholds its full list of regulated substances and provides no timelines for eliminating toxic [chemicals]."



Greenpeace then kicked off a "Green my Apple" campaign that saw it set up shop at that year's MacExpo in London, in which members began distributing organic green apples to attendees in an effort to raise awareness about the use of toxic chemicals in Apple's products. The effort was short-lived, however, as Greenpeace was abruptly asked to leave the show and forced to shut down its operation.



In the month's that would follow, the group would pull similar publicity stunts such as "greening" Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue New York City by shining green spotlights into the location's 32-foot glass cube. A similar protest was made at Apple's San Francisco-based flagship shop during the January 2007 Macworld Expo, albeit to less success due to technical difficulties.



Greenpeace activists demonstrate with "green" light at the 5th Avenue Apple store in Manhattan.



Nevertheless, the negative publicity generated by Greenpeace would force Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs to issue an open letter to customers and shareholders in May of 2007, in which he admitted that the company had not been forthright on its environmental policy. As part of the letter, Jobs outline a timetable for the removal of toxic chemicals from the company's products, including arsenic, mercury, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and brominated flame retardants (BDRs).



In an interview this past September, Jobs, along with Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook, would expand on his company's newfound environmentally conscious ways while acknowledging that Greenpeace's targeting of his company played a significant role in promoting its green focus in public.


After Greenpeace criticized Apple for the use of toxic chemicals in its products, Jobs said he turned to former vice president Al Gore, a member of his company's board of directors and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change. Gore reportedly told Jobs to do what he does, and not get into a "mud-slinging war" with the environmental organization.



In response, Apple began mentioning its products' environmental impact with a scorecard at each keynote. Jobs argued that his company had always been green, but in the past it didn't make it a point to mention it in public. He said the company's tight-lipped approach, particularly on public policy issues, hurt its image with environmental organizations.



"We tend to report rather than predict," Jobs said. "You won't see us out there saying what the PC is going to look like in 2016. We quietly go try to invent the PC for 2016."



Another report highlighted the company's reporting of hardware carbon emissions, a new disclosure that was revealed by the company that same week. It noted the use of Apple products by consumers accounts for more than half of Apple's annual 10.2 million tons of carbon emissions. Apple's environmental Web site states that less than 5 percent of the company's emissions come from manufacturing facilities, while more than 95 percent of its greenhouse gases are from the products it sells.



Cook said that companies often focus on the wrong issues. He gave the example of installing motion detectors in a conference room, to automatically turn off the lights in a room when no one is there. But the real carbon footprint, he said, comes from the products themselves.



"Making products cleaner involves real engineering," Cook said. "It's about innovating, and it's hard work."
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 117
    Amazing news. The fact that Apple turned this around so fast is pretty incredible. Couldn't have been easy, couldn't have been cheap. Is it really going to have a huge impact? Certainly not going to make things worse.
  • Reply 2 of 117
    buzdotsbuzdots Posts: 449member
    They are just attention whores!



    I certainly don't mind Apple doing the right thing, but SCREW Greenpeace.
  • Reply 3 of 117
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    I'm confused. One graph says they're top, another graph says they're not. Is the former graph just ranking toxic PVC reduction?
  • Reply 4 of 117
    hal 9000hal 9000 Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post


    They are just attention whores!



    I certainly don't mind Apple doing the right thing, but SCREW Greenpeace.





    I guess revenge is a meal best served cold! Good for Apple, they turned an unfair and selective PR campaign in their favor.

    I remember not long ago GP would send out people to the streets to protest against Apple and do nothing with regards to other computer companies.
  • Reply 5 of 117
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,734member
    Greenpeace would be a far more effective organization if they formed partnerships to inform and reward companies that are moving in the right direction, instead of being a bunch of militants. Then again, I'm not actually certain if they have engineers and scientists who advise them.
  • Reply 6 of 117
    maestro64maestro64 Posts: 4,453member
    Grand standing at it best here, they trying to claim they were the influence behind apples change. The problem is when they went after apple they were attacking products which was design 2 to 3 yrs earlier and no one had parts which meet the current new requirement.



    The best part is they held up HP as doing far better than Apple was and now HP is behind. HP was never head, they were just taking product back and recycling them when Apple was not and greenpeace thought that was great at the time.



    They are going to try and use this to say to other companies if they do not follow they will do to them as the think the did to Apple. Remember Apple refused to meet with them so the can not claim the had any influence.
  • Reply 7 of 117
    mactrippermactripper Posts: 1,328member
    Eco-terrorists is what they are.



    Same group of people who burn down your house, disable your car, put nails in your trees so you don't cut it down (even if you don't want too) and all other sorts of crazed behavior.



    Once they realize a family dog has twice the carbon footprint of a SUV they will come stalk Rover with chocolate and poisoned hamburger.



    They are certainly anti-human to say the least.





    One got so upset at me when we were hiking in a high traffic tourist type cave, I was touching a purposely exposed (the rest were fenced off) stalactite to see what it felt like.



    The lady screamed at me and threatened to send her friends after me and all this and that stuff, "Why are you touching that!" I replied "Because I'm human and touch is a natural sensor" Then I said "What are you lady and when was the last time you were touched?"



    My friends roared in laughter.
  • Reply 8 of 117
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacTripper View Post


    Eco-terrorists is what they are.



    Same group of people who burn down your house, disable your car, put nails in your trees so you don't cut it down (even if you don't want too) and all other sorts of crazed behavior.



    Once they realize a family dog has twice the carbon footprint of a SUV they will come stalk Rover with chocolate and poisoned hamburger.



    They are certainly anti-human to say the least.





    One got so upset at me when we were hiking in a high traffic tourist type cave, I was touching a purposely exposed (the rest were fenced off) stalactite to see what it felt like.



    The lady screamed at me and threatened to send her friends after me and all this and that stuff, "Why are you touching that!" I replied "Because I'm human and touch is a natural sensor" Then I said "What are you lady and when was the last time you were touched?"



    My friends roared in laughter.



    You should have just pissed on her..the human rights equivalent of blood. They could save a lot of carbon footprint just by killing themselves.
  • Reply 9 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pixelcruncher View Post


    Amazing news. The fact that Apple turned this around so fast is pretty incredible. Couldn't have been easy, couldn't have been cheap. Is it really going to have a huge impact? Certainly not going to make things worse.



    So how much did Apple pay Greenpeace for this total media BJ?



    Let me see - 99% of the components that go into Apple's products are from THE SAME FACTORY and THE SAME MANUFACTURER as the entire rest of the industry uses. So they use some Aluminium in their products and all of the sudden it's green? They use a bit less packaging? Sure buy a Mac, but don't think it's going to save the environment or is significantly better than any other computer option.



    Ironically the high price, and therefore presumably lower yearly unit turnover of their machines is probably what's best for the environment. Those POS Asus/HP/Acer 300usd machines that get chucked ever year is a bigger problem.
  • Reply 10 of 117
    jpcgjpcg Posts: 114member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    I'm confused. One graph says they're top, another graph says they're not. Is the former graph just ranking toxic PVC reduction?



    In that last graph, Apple loses points for not making political statements and lobbing (both in the EU). Also they should tell them their detailed supply chains, and their future enviromental goals. more here



    Bit stupid if you ask me. They are surely the best and they deserve to be at the top of that other chart too
  • Reply 11 of 117
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Azathoth View Post


    So how much did Apple pay Greenpeace for this total media BJ?



    Let me see - 99% of the components that go into Apple's products are from THE SAME FACTORY and THE SAME MANUFACTURER as the entire rest of the industry uses. So they use some Aluminium in their products and all of the sudden it's green? They use a bit less packaging? Sure buy a Mac, but don't think it's going to save the environment or is significantly better than any other computer option.



    Ironically the high price, and therefore presumably lower yearly unit turnover of their machines is probably what's best for the environment. Those POS Asus/HP/Acer 300usd machines that get chucked ever year is a bigger problem.



    You post isn't even worthy of a good troll.



    Can you show us where you get your facts? Maybe show us where Apple orders it's components and then prove that the 'rest of the industry' gets the same parts from the same factory? Some of the companies you mention also recycle old machines.



    Did you even bother to check any facts, or even read the full article before you posted?



    http://www.apple.com/macbook/environment.html



    It's not all about packaging. It's across the board, from manufactured parts, consumables, power efficiencies, end of life recycling, and carbon emission reports.



    Try harder next time.
  • Reply 12 of 117
    hal 9000hal 9000 Posts: 101member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by jpcg View Post


    In that last graph, Apple loses points for not making political statements and lobbing (both in the EU). Also they should tell them their detailed supply chains, and their future enviromental goals. more here



    Bit stupid if you ask me. They are surely the best and they deserve to be at the top of that other chart too



    wait...so they rate companies according to their level of political activism?



    I though computer companies were meant to make and sell things, not subsidize lobby outfits like GP. This only speaks well of Apple (again).
  • Reply 13 of 117
    Did you hear that their ship got rammed by Japanese whaling ships and sunk the other day just off of New Zealand?



    Now I'm not one for whaling so I'm not in any support of Japan's whaling crap but I laughed when I heard the news someone is willing to fight back against GreenPeace. Something tells me they need to drop the "Peace" side of their name because they seem to be just as militant and the terrorists... which incidentally they are.



    I mean these idiots were shining lasers into the cockpit of the boat, something that is illegal.



    I once got into a doorstep debate with a GreenPeace representative over their specific treatment of Apple and he had no comeback at all. It was awesome because he wasn't prepared for me.



    The quicker GreenPeace leave and stop messing it all up for everyone and leave it to the more astute protestors the better the world will be because clearly the aggressive stance doesn't work, it only causes the victim's back to arch and they fight back as was the case with the Japanese security boat ramming GreenPeace's boat.



    I would like to see numbers on GreenPeace's carbon footprint before I listen to those hypocrites.
  • Reply 14 of 117
    tbelltbell Posts: 3,146member
    I do not agree with you,[ and some of the other comments made against Greenpeace]. Most great things happen because of militant activity. The USA was found by militants after the seeking a partnership angle didn't work out.



    First, Apple was a fair target by Greenpeace. Apple's campaign was Think Different, and Al Gore sits on Apple's Board. Greenpeace exercised it's first Amendment rights to express it's desire that Apple become more a leader in environmental efforts. Second, Apple seemed to spring into action highlighting Apple's environmental efforts in response to Greenpeace's attacks. In fact, we know that is true because Jobs letter to the public indirectly refers to Greenpeace. Third, the problem with forming partnerships is companies interests are seldomly aligned with doing the right thing. I doubt profit driven companies without the proper motivation are going to produce environmentally responsible policies. If corporations are open to that, then sure partnerships would be great. Fifth, it is hard to find fault with an organization that merely wants corporations to remove toxic materials from the products they manufacturer. I certainly am glad Greenpeace is spending it's time trying to put pressure on corporations. I do not have the time to do it.



    With all that said, Greenpeace's initial ranking system was flawed. It was based on corporations ranking on statements of what corporations intended to do in the future. That system worked against Apple because it is more of a take action company as opposed to let us discuss what our future plans may be sort of company. In Greenpeace's defense it probably initially approached companies asking them to disclose their efforts to reduce the toxic materials it uses in their products, and the companies wouldn't cooperate. Accordingly, Greenpeace had to create a system that allowed companies to start thinking about such efforts without making legally binding commitments to actually do anything.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Greenpeace would be a far more effective organization if they formed partnerships to inform and reward companies that are moving in the right direction, instead of being a bunch of militants. Then again, I'm not actually certain if they have engineers and scientists who advise them.



  • Reply 15 of 117
    Being "honored" by GreenPeace is hardly an honor, it is definately nothing a company should give much attention to.



    But at least that will shut them up as far as Apple is concerned.
  • Reply 16 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    You post isn't even worthy of a good troll.



    Can you show us where you get your facts? Maybe show us where Apple orders it's components and then prove that the 'rest of the industry' gets the same parts from the same factory? Some of the companies you mention also recycle old machines.



    Did you even bother to check any facts, or even read the full article before you posted?



    http://www.apple.com/macbook/environment.html



    It's not all about packaging. It's across the board, from manufactured parts, consumables, power efficiencies, end of life recycling, and carbon emission reports.



    Try harder next time.



    Sorry to disappoint you - I wasn't trolling - just pointing out some facts.



    Hey, FWIW i'm planning to buy a MBP, but I know media manipulation when i see it.



    I work for a major OEM design house. I know what goes into products. Those components are from Intel, Broadcom, Murata, KOA Speer, etc. etc. etc. Manufacturing is by Foxconn et al. Or do you think that Apple makes their own green capacitors and PCBs?



    No i didn't bother reading the page on Apple's website, because IT'S ADVERTISING. It's what APPLE IS GOOD AT.



    There I just looked at it. Almost all those hyperbolic claims can be made by most manufacturers. LED lighting? That's now standard in almost all PCs of that price point. As/Hg free glass? Other manufacturers don't even use glass. The 'free recycling' by Apple is about the only thing I've not heard of, but I don't live in the US, here in Europe there are recycling options at the municipal level. So yeah, I still think it's a puff piece, especially with the magnanimous quotes from SJ.



    I'm pro environment (no car, walk, low heating, low power lighting, no TV, few gadgets etc.) , but I can see the CO2 trading scam that's going on and how every company is jumping on the Green-bandwagon to show that they're 'hip' and 'with it'.
  • Reply 17 of 117
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by TBell View Post


    I do not agree with you,[ and some of the other comments made against Greenpeace]. Most great things happen because of militant activity. The USA was found by militants after the seeking a partnership angle didn't work out.



    First, Apple was a fair target by Greenpeace. Apple's campaign was Think Different, and Al Gore sits on Apple's Board. Greenpeace exercised it's first Amendment rights to express it's desire that Apple become more a leader in environmental efforts.



    Is it also their 1st amendment right to break the law in the name of being 'green'? Not specifically with Apple, but with some of their more militant actions. The end doesn't always justify the means.
  • Reply 18 of 117
    djrumpydjrumpy Posts: 1,116member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Azathoth View Post


    Sorry to disappoint you - I wasn't trolling - just pointing out some facts.



    Can you tell us exactly what facts you put in your first post? I mean besides the trolling parts.
  • Reply 19 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by BuzDots View Post


    They are just attention whores!



    I certainly don't mind Apple doing the right thing, but SCREW Greenpeace.



    Yes, they are media whores - because that's their job! They would take your intended insult as a compliment. Their sole purpose is to increase awareness of environmental problems, including the ultimate negative effect on human health. And that's a good thing, imo, because corporations and their lobbyists sure won't tell you about it, and the mainstream media is incompetent to help prevent anything.
  • Reply 20 of 117
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by DJRumpy View Post


    Can you tell us exactly what facts you put in your first post? I mean besides the trolling parts.



    E.g. use of identical components to competitor's products.



    BTW critical commentary is not trolling.
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