Apple’s score plummets as Greenpeace expands ranking criteria in its Guide to Greener Electronics

Out of the 18 electronics companies evaluated in the 8th edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, only two companies – Sony Ericsson and Sony – score above 5/10. The overall score of the ranked companies has plummeted as Greenpeace tightens requirements on electronic waste (e-waste) and toxic chemicals, and adds new requirements for evaluating companies’ impact on climate change.

The newly-added energy criteria (1) require companies to show their political support for global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the post Kyoto political process. Companies must also commit to absolute reductions in GHG emissions from their own operations. Most companies take a limited view of this by only focusing on the energy efficiency of their products (2) rather than including the production process. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector currently accounts for 2% of global GHG emissions (3), equal to the aviation industry. As one of the most innovative and fastest growing industries, Greenpeace expects the sector to take leadership in tackling climate change by reducing both their direct and indirect climate carbon footprint.

Apple again comes in at 11th position scoring 4.1 points (down from 6.0 points in Greenpeace’s last report in December 2007), mainly due to putting products on the market whose key components are free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVC vinyl plastic. For example, all new models of iMac and the MacBook Air have bromine-free casings and printed circuit board laminates as well as PVC-free internal cables. Millions of iPods now have bromine-free enclosures and printed circuit board laminates. The MacBook Air also has mercury free LCD display with arsenic-free glass. MacBook Pros come with mercury-free LED backlit displays. Apple scores poorly on most e-waste criteria, except for reporting a recycling rate in 2006 of 9.5% as a percentage of sales 7 years ago. It does only slightly better on energy criteria, failing to score on all criteria except energy efficiency of products, where it scores top marks (doubled) for all desktops computers, portable PCs and displays complying with Energy Star 4.0 and their iPod and iPhone power adapters not only exceeding the Energy Star standard, but already meeting California’s stricter efficiency regulations that take effect 1 July 2008.

“Electronics giants pay attention to environmental performance on certain issues, while ignoring others that are just as important. Philips, for example, scores well on chemicals and energy criteria, but scores a zero on e-waste since it has no global take-back polices,” said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, in the press release. “Philips would score higher if it took responsibility for its own branded e-waste and established equitable global take-back schemes.”

Many companies score well on energy efficiency as their products comply and exceed Energy Star standards (4). The best performers on energy efficiency are Sony Ericsson and Apple, with all of their models meeting, and many exceeding, Energy Star requirements. Sony Ericsson stands out as the first company to score almost top marks on all of the chemicals criteria (3). With all new Sony Ericsson models being PVC-free, the company has also met the new chemicals criterion in the ranking, having already banned antimony, beryllium and phthalates from models launched since January 2008.

“Greenpeace aims to show which companies are serious about becoming environmental leaders. We want them to race towards meeting the new criteria: phasing out other toxic chemicals, increasing the recycling rate of e-waste, using recycled materials in new products and reducing their impact on climate change,” concluded Iza Kruszewska.

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69 Comments

  1. Wait a minute, I love the environment, N-ACB. I surf, kayak, fish, hike or do something to generally enjoy the great outdoors every day. It’s not about resisting Apple making better products for consumers and the environment, it’s about Greenpeace using extortion tactics to get what they want. The ends do not justify the means, IMHO.

  2. What’s really alarming is…

    …most of these “extreme enviromental radicals” are heading top positions in the Democratic Party.

    Just look in the eyes of the House Speaker, he’s just plumb crazy.

    Sue OPEC?

    Tax our very own American job creating oil companies for making a bit more profit because of China’s huge demand for world resources driving up oil costs?

    Tax our oil companies for using leases on land, then tax them again for not using them if they don’t have enough together to make it economically viable to drill adjacent leases?

    What is the Democratic agenda? Destroy America?

    God Dam America? Hail China?

    Who made China US favored trade nation? Clinton.

    Why does the Democrats hate Capitalism and Wall Street? Are they secret radical fringe nutcases that are utterly clueless about how just about anything works in the world?

    Sue OPEC! Good luck!

  3. @NoodleBoy

    Greenpeace wants power at any cost. Even if that cost is to destroy our standard of living. They want to use coercion and deceit and propaganda and force. What they don’t want is to let people decide for themselves.

    One of their requirements:

    (1) require companies to show their political support for global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas

    Companies are supposed to make money and pay employees, not be political tools. If a company is doing something you don’t want them to do, you need to stop buying their products. Then they will change. The great thing about living free is that each person gets to decide what is best for them instead of some zealots.

    No one wants pollution, but I would think almost everyone can come up with some rational balance.

    And don’t believe that corporations are going green to save the planet. They are going green because they will benefit in $ from the expensive products they will get to sell you because you are required to comply with laws that were created from Greenpeace and the large corporations and the politicians that want to control you.

  4. @ Mad Mac Maniac…

    For every dollar a Democratic president has raised the national debt in the past 59 years Republican presidents have raised the debt by $2.99. All of our current economic woes rest squarely on the shoulders of Dubya and his administrations complete incompetence in all matters financial.

    And you say it’s the Dems that don’t know how things work, I mean they’re far from perfect but your assertion is way off base.

  5. Reality Check is dead on correct. The Greenpeace types and global warming/climate change alarmists are only out to make a buck for themselves. You can damn well bet that if Apple lined Greenpeace’s pockets with some cash, their complaints about Apple’s green policy would immediately disappear. And don’t even get me started about the carbon credits bullsh*t, that’s an even bigger money scam. These idiots aren’t trying to save the planet, all they’re really accomplishing is to collapse the nation’s economy and make themselves rich off of it. They’re the lowest form of scum.

  6. @Willie G

    Presidents cannot spend money. Only congress has the power to spend money. Presidents cannot put us into debt only congress can.

    Who created the endless amounts of entitlements? Mostly liberal democrats who maintain their power on the backs of the poor.

    Note: I’m no fan of conservatives either, I just really hate liberals.

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