Despite touting its green credentials in new TV ads, Apple is ranked fairly low in Greenpeace’s latest survey of green electronics.
Greenpeace’s quarterly green scorecard was released on Wednesday, and while Apple got high marks for reducing toxic chemicals, it got low marks for not supporting global recycling initiatives or using more recycled plastics.
Overall, Apple scored 4.7 out of 10, putting it in the lower half of a pack of 18 electronics manufacturers. Nokia came top with a score of 7.45, and Nintendo came bottom with a score of 1.
Apple has been advertising the green credentials of its new MacBook line in TV ads — proclaiming them the greenest laptops ever.
Greenpeace’s 12th Guide to Greener Electronics ranks tech companies on three main criteria: reducing overall environmental impact, eliminating toxic chemicals, and recycling efforts.
Apple scored higher than rivals like Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and Lenovo, which all came near the bottom for failing to eliminate toxic chemicals like polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products.
Apple has mostly removed PVCs and BVRs, which Greenpeace rewarded with high marks.
Greenpeace also praised Apple for:
Toxics: Apple generally gets high marks for removing PVCs and BFRs, and for planning to remove all chlorine and bromine.
Recycling: Apple operates recycling programs in countries where more than 95% of its prodcuts are sold, including countries where no recycling laws exist.
E-Waste Reporting: Apple recycled 30.5 million pounds of electronics; a recycling rate of 38% in 2008, as a percentage of sales seven years ago.
Green Advertising: Greenpeace praised Apple’s new ads highlighting the green credentials of its new MacBooks.
But Greenpeace criticized Apple for:
Eliminating More Toxins: Apple’s provided no timeline for eliminating nasties like beryllium and arsenic.
Global Recycling: Apple has not pledged support for the Individual Producer Responsibility program, which pressures firms to take responsibility for the lifetime of products, cradle to grave.
Recycled Plastics: Apple doesn’t use enough.
Global Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Apple doesn’t support mandatory reduction of global greenhouse emissions.
Renewable Energy: Apple doesn’t disclose the amount of renewable energy it uses.
Apple in the past has been targeted by Greenpeace, mostly for failing to on its environmental performance. But in 2007, Steve Jobs posted an long, detailed statement about Apple’s green performance and goals. Greenpeace has also been criticized for its green electronics reports. The group — which is clearly activist — uses published results to compile its surveys. So Apple may be running its HQ entirely on solar power, but receives poor marks if it fails to report this.
Apple didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Below is a copy of Greenpeace’s explanation of Apple’s score in more detail (PDF).
And here’s Greenpeace’s full Guide to Greener Electronics – 12 (PDF).