Greenpeace lauds Apple renewable energy efforts, decries 'right to repair' stance

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2017
Greenpeace on Monday released its latest "Guide to Greener Electronics" report for 2017, analyzing what steps, if any, 17 of the world's top consumer electronics companies are taking to reduce their impact on the environment. This year, Greenpeace awarded Apple a passable B- grade, touting renewable energy and climate change initiatives, while at the same time lambasting the company over its opposition to "right to repair" legislation.




After a four year absence, Greenpeace's Guide returns to take companies to task over internal environmental initiatives, or lack thereof.

This year's study focused on three major issues: energy, or the reduction of greenhouse gases through renewable energy; resource consumption issues like sustainable design and use of recycled materials; and chemicals, specifically the elimination of hazardous materials in products and the manufacturing process.

Apple's B- performance was second only to Fairphone, which scored a B for its effort to build an environmentally friendly smartphone and supporting supply chain. With only two products to its name -- two versions of the same device -- Fairphone appears to be more of an aspirational target than an equal to the other 16 tech firms mentioned in the Greenpeace list, which includes Dell, HP, Microsoft and Samsung.

As for Apple, Greenpeace awarded high marks (PDF link) for the company's dedication to renewable energy, singling out solar and wind power projects in the U.S. and China. Greenpeace highlighted Apple's commitment to become a 100 percent renewable energy company, an ambitious goal that is accomplished. Apple also advocates for renewable energy, both for its suppliers and, on a macro scale, government policy.

The iPhone maker took a hit, however, for designing products that are not easily repaired by customers or third-party shops. By limiting repair and upgrade paths, Apple forces users to replace devices with new models, leading to increased waste that could negatively impact the environment. Commonly referred to as planned obsolescence, these design decisions earned Apple a D in product life extension under the report's Sustainable Design & Resource Reduction category. This same section earned Apple its lone F grade.

In particular, Greenpeace took issue with the firm's stance on "right to repair" legislation. Apple has actively lobbied against bill proposals circulating in multiple U.S. states that would require the company to provide consumers and third-party repair shops access to service manuals and parts. Further, Apple has "blocked attempts to strengthen environmental electronics standards that would encourage device designs that are easier to repair, upgrade, and disassemble for recycling," Greenpeace said.

For its part, Apple maintains "right to repair" laws are myopic in scope. In an interview last month, VP of Environment, Policy and Social Initiatives Lisa Jackson said parties touting such legislation are not "looking at the whole problem." From a device's production to its end of life, the most important facet of manufacturing should be making the most out of existing resources, Jackson said.

Apple is committing substantial effort toward the development of a closed loop production process in which new devices will be made from recycled components. The company admits it does not yet know how to achieve so-called "circular economy" manufacturing, but potential solutions are in the works.

Citing a Motherboard report, Greenpeace notes Apple continues to maintain "must shred" agreements with partner recyclers in the U.S., meaning devices are destroyed rather than recycled. The organization concedes steps are being taken toward a closed loop process, pointing out future projects like the "Liam" iPhone recycling robot.

Finally, Greenpeace gave Apple a B for its efforts in eliminating hazardous chemicals from products and the supply chain.

Despite Greenpeace's concerns, Apple consistently ranks among the top tech companies in environmental organization's studies. In January, for example, Greenpeace named Apple as the world's most environmentally-friendly tech platform company for the third year in a row, citing a growing investments into clean energy.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 36
    Greenpeace are idiots.

    A phone is not a plastic bottle or aluminum can.  These devices are to difficult to repair.  I know because I replaced two IPad screens.  The mini I failed to get working, and I imagine the IPhone is worse.  These things are to dam small unless you want to allow child labor... a robot is the way to go.

    Next thing Greenpeace will bitch about Intels processor repair difficulty.

    If Greenpeace wants to complain/bitch/lobby about all the plastic and industrial chemicals that end up in the oceans I’ll back them all the way.

    But they should stick to their areas of expertise, and that’s not electronic devices.
    baconstangchiaGG1d_2viclauyycjbdragonanton zuykovboltsfan17bb-15JWSC
  • Reply 2 of 36
    Greenpeace is spot on. Electronics should be easier to repair or recycle, and consumers should be able to choose who repairs their devices. Apple wants to double dip, profiting from the original sale and from the repairs. Granting them exclusive rights to repairs would give them little incentive to improve product quality.
    derekmorrminicoffee
  • Reply 3 of 36
    Kinda get the feeling they won't be happy until you can repair your own 256GB NAND chips.
    viclauyyclkruppjbdragon
  • Reply 4 of 36
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    If Apple wants to be really green and ecological... Let´s start: stop making all-in-one computers. Instead, make headless computers allowing to use the standalone display for decades! Let´s continue: stop making wireless things as much as possible. Instead, make wired things, and save battery and energy: keyboards, wireless charging, etc.
    minicoffee
  • Reply 5 of 36
    analogjackanalogjack Posts: 1,043member
    Greenpeace should stop this pointless and misdirected waste of their resources and focus every aspect of whatever influence and power they wield to make a real difference in matters concerning the disappearance of great beasts and wild forests of the world.
    baconstangJWSC
  • Reply 6 of 36
    Apple is still doing more than most of Android phone producers... Getting 4-5 years updates for the systém means people don't tend to replace the phone every year just because they want up-to-date software...
    GG1radarthekatbrucemcjbdragonJWSCbaconstang
  • Reply 7 of 36
    ...my pre-retina top of the line pro hardware has been wonderfully durable and useful, and mostly still capable to run the latest applications close to a decade later. That being said I was able to upgrade both drives and RAM, and for a few hundred dollars. Yet with limited timeline of part availability the subject may indeed be more complex as suggested...

    It feels to me like Apple has turned pro hardware into appliances. It is largely a result of this I stopped buying new hardware. How does this help Apple, or shareholders ? And yet ironically does that actually help the environment...?

    I look forward to the new pro design, and (oh it was a dream) a 17" retina (4K) macbook pro, with ports built in, magsafe usb-c (figure that out), 32G of user upgradable RAM and industry standard format drive...

    I hope my next dream includes an 8k 40" curved screen retina iMac Pro that doubles as an Apple TV... :)

    edited October 2017
  • Reply 8 of 36
    The word of the week is “lauds” brought to you by Apple Insider. 
    edited October 2017 boxcatcher
  • Reply 11 of 36
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,296member
    I disagree with Greenpeace’s stance on right to repair. The issue is that it really opens the device up for upgrades. What happens to the battery that the end user replaced? The screen? It probably went in the trash... the worst possible place. If it were repaired at Apple, it may cost more but it would be done correctly with proper parts and the waste recycled. 

    Users would slso use this to upgrade thier devices. For instance, what happens to all the RAM, old drives or CPUs you remove? That’s right... landfill. By simplifying connections and assemply, Apple insures the device will last longer and remain useful. Most companies are cheap because they release the product and then stop updating and supporting it in a year and shirk responsibility for recycling it. Apple bakes all of that into the cost of the unit.
    macxpressbrucemcJWSCbaconstang
  • Reply 12 of 36
    GG1GG1 Posts: 200member
    riverko said:
    Apple is still doing more than most of Android phone producers... Getting 4-5 years updates for the systém means people don't tend to replace the phone every year just because they want up-to-date software...
    +1. This fact is probably overlooked by Greenpeace.

    If you really want to repair your iDevice, you can get nearly any part from China/Hong Kong, including chip repair. Is it Apple's fault that phones from nearly every vendor are crammed full of dense componentry and specialized parts, making it inherently irreparable by the average person?

    I side with Apple on security-related parts (TouchID button, forthcoming FaceID parts), but this type of parts is the minority, not the majority.

    Where's the Essential phone on Greepeace's list? From IFixit: "That soldered charging port, excessive adhesive, and tough opening earned the Essential a 1 out of 10 on our repairability scale."

    For reference, IFixit rated both iPhone 8's a 6 out of 10.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 13 of 36
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 4,538member
    appex said:
    If Apple wants to be really green and ecological... Let´s start: stop making all-in-one computers. Instead, make headless computers allowing to use the standalone display for decades! Let´s continue: stop making wireless things as much as possible. Instead, make wired things, and save battery and energy: keyboards, wireless charging, etc.
    Lets just stop technology dead in the tracks and go back to the 90's....That will make the earth greener!
    brucemcJWSCbaconstang
  • Reply 14 of 36
    tshapitshapi Posts: 285member
    Right to repair is really not environmentally friendly.   The ability for Apple to control who repairs there products allows for Apple to control what Goes into there products. And what happens to the removed or broken parts.  

    It’s about everything Apple does. Don’t let it fool you.  It all comes back to Apple profit. 
  • Reply 15 of 36
    Greenpeace is spot on. Electronics should be easier to repair or recycle, and consumers should be able to choose who repairs their devices. Apple wants to double dip, profiting from the original sale and from the repairs. Granting them exclusive rights to repairs would give them little incentive to improve product quality.
    Do You know Apple build a special robot to take apart all the components from iPhone and recycle everything. 
    Stop bitching before you know the fact. 
    I cant think of any major companies is greener than Apple.

    brucemcJWSCStrangeDaysrochfordbshank
  • Reply 16 of 36
    tshapitshapi Posts: 285member
    Greenpeace is spot on. Electronics should be easier to repair or recycle, and consumers should be able to choose who repairs their devices. Apple wants to double dip, profiting from the original sale and from the repairs. Granting them exclusive rights to repairs would give them little incentive to improve product quality.
    Oh, so your saying Apple doesn’t improve the quality of there products?  

    Then I must be mistaken when Apple comes out every year with a better product than the year before. 

    This is what would happen if Apple didn’t tightly control who repaired there devices. 

    People qould take an iphone in for repair, becuase the screen is cracked. Then they would probably try to incorporate parts that are poor quality and cheaply made or try to gauge the customer more so than Apple. 

  • Reply 17 of 36
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,292member
    Greenpeace are idiots.

    Greenpeace are not idiots. They may be radical environmentalists but they are certainly not idiots. Greenpeace has had an impact on environmental issues and that shows they know what they are doing in getting their points across.
  • Reply 18 of 36

    Kinda get the feeling they won't be happy until you can repair your own 256GB NAND chips.
    Yes. They want people to able to repair all the gates inside cpu.

    GP is just a bunch of self righteous vegan think they are above the rest of the world. Same as PETA 
  • Reply 19 of 36
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,292member
    So here we have an article that shows Apple in a good light because of their environmental initiatives. Greenpeace gives Apple its “most environmentally friendly tech company” award for three straight years. And what does the AI comment section do? It focuses on one criticism and slashes Apple’s throat over it. What about the fact that almost every other smartphone manufacturer got a D or an F.  Shouldn’t this article be used as a positive reason for buying iPhones? If you are concerned about  the environment and climate change you really have only one choice, the iPhone.
    edited October 2017 StrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 36
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,432member
    viclauyyc said:
    baconstang said:
    Kinda get the feeling they won't be happy until you can repair your own 256GB NAND chips.
    Yes. They want people to able to repair all the gates inside cpu.

    GP is just a bunch of self righteous vegan think they are above the rest of the world. Same as PETA 
    Actually, they will only want (and complain) about ability to repair chips/SoCs that are from Apple.
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