Joshua Schnell, November 19, 2012
Green. The color of money, apparently. Oh, and other environmental stuff that doesn’t seem to matter much anymore. Usually a product’s “greeness” has something to do with a product’s impact on the environment and not the politics surrounding the advocacy of green philosophies to a company’s customers. Sadly, Greenpeace has decided against that kind of sound reasoning, instead pronouncing in its Green Guide that ”Apple drops to 6th position, with a score of 4.6. Though one of the high scorers in this edition…” According to Greenpeace, Apple is now behind Wipro, HP, Nokia, Acer, and Dell. Yeah, about that ranking system.
In Greenpeace’s own words, “Apple misses out on points for lack of transparency on GHG emission reporting, clean energy advocacy, further information on its management of toxic chemicals, and details on post-consumer recycled plastic use.” We added emphasis on certain words in that quote. Words emphasized include advocacy, information, and details. We’re not going to get into the other ratings, because for the most part they seem like fair reasoning points, but this “transparency” argument seems polemic at best and trollish at worst. At what point did a memo get sent around to companies ordering them to spill the beans on their environmental practices and policies to NGOs and special interest groups?
Ding Apple for its lack of upgradability, ding Apple for the chemicals used in its products, but don’t ding Apple out of spite because they refuse to kowtow to your every whim, knowing full well that they’ll get a bad wrap no matter what they do because it’ll get you the most page views. Got it?
I’m all for companies lowering their footprint on the environment. I love knowing how my favorite brands are trying to be better when it comes to the environment. I DO NOT enjoy being told that a particular company scores among the best but arbitrarily gets knocked down the ladder because of things that can’t be measured, and that don’t seem to impact others on the list.
According to Greenpeace’s own listings:
- WiPro has a terrible product life cycle,
- Nokia has a terrible life cycle, and doesn’t really use recycled plastics in their products,
- Acer’s lifecycle is crap,
- And Dell’s lifecycle is crap.
All the businesses listed above ranked higher than Apple in Greenpeace’s listing. What’s more important for the environment? Product life cycles and using recycled plastics where possible, or “clean energy policy advocacy?” According to Greenpeace it’s the advocacy. I mean, who cares how long products last, and how much a company uses recycled materials. If a company doesn’t advocate for greener practices, or ship off all their detailed notes to Greenpeace, they must be the worst offenders on the market.
I can’t believe I just had to dedicate over 400 words to this crap. Based on their own metrics, HP should be first, and Apple second, at least when it comes to things that actually matter the most.
Want to know the details Apple gives people about its environmental impact? You can get it directly from the company’s website.
Update: I was just reminded about a Steve Jobs letter titled “A Greener Apple” that takes aim at Greenpeace’s rankings. It’s well worth a read again. I probably could have just posted it instead of wasting 500 words on this crap. Here’s a quote: “It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished.” Long story short, announce what you’ve done, not what you plan to do at some point in the future…Follow @macgasm