updated 12:05 am EST, Wed November 26, 2008
Greenpeace rates Apple
Apple has again lost ground against several competitors in the Greenpeace Greener Electronics ratings, despite a slight increase on the scale to 4.3 points. The environmental group cited positive changes in the computer manufacturer's processes and materials, including the removal of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from some products, but noted that the company would have to completely phase-out such chemicals to score higher on the list. Greenpeace also noted that Apple needs to commit to timelines detailing the elimination of other hazardous materials from its products.
Apple also scored low on e-waste criteria, with the exception of a 2006 recycling rate of 18-percent of devices compared to sales seven years prior. Greenpeace has campaigned against electronics companies for ignoring waste policies, with reports that a large number of devices end up in foreign dumps being burned by children to extract scrap metals, exposing the workers and environment to harmful fumes as well as groundwater contamination.
The Cupertino-based company was applauded for certain energy criteria, including the disclosure of the carbon footprint for each product it manufactures. Greenpeace also gave the company "top marks (doubled)" for all of the devices that meet Energy Star 4.0 requirements, and all power adapters that meet the Energy Star standards.
Apple recently released a new ad that featured the environmentally-friendly aspects of the new MacBook models. The aluminum housing and glass display layer are completely recyclable, and the notebooks were claimed to consume less than a quarter of the energy used by an incandescent bulb. The company has also reduced packaging sizes to allow more products to fit in each shipping container.
Greenpeace has focused particular attention on Apple, with a "Green my Apple" campaign aimed at pressuring the company to adopt policies that are more considerate of the environment. Apple has taken many steps to produce 'greener' products, but the activist group has only shown occasional recognition of the efforts before raising the bar higher.