Chicago (IL) - Apple has a history of not being the most environmentally-friendly company out there and with more and more eyes focusing on climate factors that include, for example, a company’s carbon footprint, the Silicon Valley darling may feel under increasing public pressure in the future. The latest to criticize Apple’s environmental efforts is ClimateCounts.org, which hands Apple the worst climate scorecard in a ranking of twelve leading electronics and computer companies.
Apple’s PR had a good start into the week with a Consumer Reports magazine article that ranked Apple first in technical support. The second half wasn’t so great as a ClimateCounts.org report put Apple at the other end of the spectrum in terms of 22 climate and corporate performance tools that are claimed to "cover companies’ track record on measuring their climate change impact." Criteria include efforts to reduce global warming pollution, publicly disclose climate protection efforts and take positive or negative positions on public policy relevant to climate change. Climate Counts said it relies on the publicly available climate information on each company, self-reported and through "credible third parties".
This means that the statistic are more than likely to deviate from the actual eco friendliness as the actual climate footprint was not measured. We interpret the report more as a status of a companies’ declared eco-friendliness targets, not as actual achievements in a climate preservation. Still, the ranking reveals that there are companies that take the topics of climate change and global warming much more seriously than others in terms of making them a part of their communications strategy.
ClimateCounts.org aims to force companies to clearly state their environmental efforts and provide this information to customers as a tool that contributes to their purchasing decisions. "Business is being pushed by consumers to do its part to solve the climate crisis. The scorecard allows consumers to make good climate decisions in their everyday purchases, and it’s having an impact," said Gary Hirshberg, ClimateCounts.org chairman. Hirshberg is also the CEO of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm, which finances the campaign.
At least in this survey, Apple doesn’t look great. The Cupertino-based company ended up with only 11 out of a maximum of 100 points for its ecological and climate efforts. Apple’s results fall far behind other tech companies: IBM is at the top with 77 points, followed by Canon (74), Toshiba (70), Sony (68), Hewlett-Packard (68), Motorola (66), Hitachi (51), Samsung (51), Siemens (51), Dell (49) and Nokia (37). ClimateCounts.org claims that Apple has no publicly stated climate impact review information available, there are insufficient efforts to reduce the climate impact, there is no climate policy stance and very little reporting on its emissions available.
This is not the first time Apple has been slapped by the green movement, ecological awareness groups and consumer advocates for not doing enough to preserve the environment. Greepeace has been among the more vocal groups to criticize Apple for its environmental impact, but recently noted that Apple has been making progress: The organization’s most recent "Guide to Greener Electronics" lists Apple in the middle of the pack of surveyed companies - at the same level as Sony Ericsson, LGE, FSC and Hewlett-Packard. According to Greenpeace, Samsung and Toshiba are the greenest examples of the group, while Nintendo, Philips, Microsoft and Panasonic are described as doing the least to protect the environment.
Apple only recently started using non-toxic materials in its products, but that clearly isn’t enough when compared to other IT companies. There is a notable discrepancy between Apple’s stated environmental efforts and its actual results in preserving the environment compared to other players in the IT industry.