Apple releases comprehensive environmental footprint data

Apple has for the first time released extremely comprehensive figures for the company’s carbon emissions — “everything from materials mined for its products to the electricity used to power them,” Peter Burrows reports for BusinessWeek.

“Executives say that consumers’ use of Apple products accounts for 53% of the company’s total 10.2 million tons of carbon emissions annually. That’s more than the 38% that occurs as the products are manufactured in Asia or the 3% that comes from Apple’s own operations,” Burrows reports. “‘A lot of companies publish how green their building is, but it doesn’t matter if you’re shipping millions of power-hungry products with toxic chemicals in them,’ says CEO Steve Jobs in an interview. ‘It’s like asking a cigarette company how green their office is.'”

Burrows reports, “Apple’s total carbon figure is an eye-opener. HP and Dell put their carbon emissions at 8.4 million tons and 471,000 tons respectively, though both are larger than Apple in terms of revenue. Their numbers exclude product use and at least some manufacturing, though. The companies have said that including those factors would boost their carbon totals severalfold.”

“Jobs and Apple have been working on their effort for several years,” Burrows reports. “They brought in the consultant Fraunhofer Institute to help crunch data and hired chemists to eliminate toxins… ‘This could completely change how companies are evaluated,’ says Alexandra McPherson, project director with Clean Production Action, an environmental group.”

Apple says “it’s time for companies, in tech and elsewhere, to examine their environmental impact as broadly as possible. For tech companies, that should include the energy-gobbling products they sell. ‘We’re not being intellectually honest with ourselves if we don’t deal with the products that we make,’ says Timothy D. Cook, Apple’s chief operating officer,” Burrows reports.

Full article here.

Apple’s statement:
With a complete life cycle analysis of greenhouse gas emissions, Apple sets a new standard of full environmental disclosure. We’re the only company in our industry that considers the environmental footprint of every product we make. And we’re the only company to add up all our greenhouse gas emissions and tell you how they are distributed across — and beyond — a product’s lifespan.

Our life cycle analysis accounts for all emissions associated with our products. That includes raw material extraction, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, a three- or four-year period of use,* and recycling. In the course of this analysis, we determined that less than 5 percent of our emissions come from our worldwide facilities. In other words, more than 95 percent of Apple’s total greenhouse gas emissions come from the products we make.

That’s why we’ve taken the innovative approach of reporting emissions data alongside detailed information about our products’ energy efficiency and materials composition. You’ll find this information in our Product Environmental Reports. These reports help educate our customers about how Apple products affect their own environmental footprint. They also allow customers to track Apple’s progress toward reducing greenhouse gas emissions with each new product.

Learn more at Apple.com here.

MacDailyNews Take: Green is the new black.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Brawndo Drinker” for the heads up.]

62 Comments

  1. Riiiight. And climate change is a myth, and CO2 levels aren’t rising, and glaciers aren’t melting, and huge chunks of ice aren’t breaking off Antarctica, and we can all just keep buying and driving and building as much as we want forever and ever. What do scientists know, anyway? Let’s trust Exxon instead.

    Good for Apple.

  2. Windows is the biggest power hog. When I run Windows XP in bootcamp on my MacBook pro, the entire system runs hot and battery life is reduced. This is just with simple tasks such as word processing and web surfing. Someone should do a side by side comparison on the same machine of doing the exact same tasks and see how much more energy is wasted by an inefficient OS like Windows and an efficient one like OSX. Then you could calculate how much less CO2 would be released each year if everyone switched to Mac.

  3. Apple has had a comprehensive Environmental site up for over a decade. Long before anyone else.

    They just never honked their horn loud enough. Or for that matter, nobody cared enough to really look at it.

    Just like this one, in a few months to come.

  4. Interesting… in the latest newsweek… Apple was rated somewhere around 133, while HP was rated number 1, Dell number 2, and MSFT 31. I have no idea how these numbers were derived…

    With all these green revelations is the man behind the curtain really being seen?

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