How badly will fallout from Apple’s decision to remove its products from the EPEAT registry affect it?
Just days after word broke that Apple had decided to withdraw its products from the EPEAT registry, San Francisco announced that the city would will stop procurement of Apple’s Mac desktops and notebooks. The move may be the first of many such announcements as many local, state, and federal agencies mandate purchases of only computers that meet the EPEAT criteria.
Apple’s decision to remove 39 of its products from the registry is puzzling to many considering that Apple is very vocal and transparent about the environmental friendliness of its products and processes. Apple was also one of the companies that helped create the EPEAT standards in 2006.
Following heavy complaints from activist group Greenpeace, Apple announced today that all of its data centers will be powered by 100% renewable energy. Apple has also received approval to build its 20-megawatt solar farm next to its other data center in Maiden, North Carolina.
60% of the energy powering Apple’s data centers will be created onsite, while the remaining 40% will be generated through negotiations with local energy providers, like Duke Energy.
Environmental protesters block coal trains meant to power Apple's Maiden, NC data facility.
Greenpeace likes to target Apple every year or so to keep them environmentally honest, and lately, the environmental access group has been going after Apple’s giant data supercenter in Maiden, North Carolina, claiming that it helps make iCloud one of the dirtiest things on the planet.
What Greenpeace is upset about is how much of the data center’s power comes from non-renewable resources, particularly coal. And they don’t think that Apple’s going far enough with its plans for solar energy plans.
Now the protests are getting real, with seven Greenpeace activists blocking train tracks used by Duke Energy and Apple use to ship coal.
Apple has been increasingly interested in powering its operations with that happy old sun, working on a 20-megawatt solar farm coupled with a 5-megawatt fuel cell facility at its data supercenter in Maiden, North Carolina. But that’s not nearly good enough, according to Greenpeace. In fact, the environmental activist group has gone so far as to call Apple out for using “asthma-inducing, climate-destroying coal” which makes the iCloud “the dirtiest thing on the internet.”
As Tim Cook put it at this morning’s event, Apple’s iCloud “just works” and 100 million customers love the lofty storage service.
Greenpeace, however, says Apple’s iCloud is an unsustainable coal-fueled mess and that the just-announced movie service will only make it worse.
“Apple is about innovation, but buying coal at really cheap source is not innovative,” Greenpeace senior policy analyst Gary Cook told Cult of Mac. “Those data centers [supporting iCloud] are fueled by about 60 percent coal.”
Apple takes pride in making its products environmentally friendly. It has worked to reduce its carbon footprint by keeping its product packaging to a minimum, removing toxic materials from its entire product line, making its devices more energy efficient and lots more.
However, the company isn’t the greenest of tech companies. It ranks fourth in Greenpeace’s “Guide to Greener Electronics,” with HP, Dell, and Nokia leading the way.