Greenpeace names Apple ‘least green’ tech company

“Apple has come bottom of the most comprehensive green league table of technology companies because of its heavy reliance on ‘dirty data’ centres,” Felicity Carus reports for The Guardian. “The list, which is compiled by Greenpeace and released in San Francisco on Thursday, shows that the company relies heavily on highly polluting coal power at the sites that house its banks of servers.”

“Greenpeace’s report, How Dirty is Your Data? reveals that the company’s investment in a new North Carolina facility will triple its electricity consumption, equivalent to the electricity demand of 80,000 average US homes,” Carus reports. “The facility’s power will be supplied by Duke Energy, with a mix of 62% coal and 32% nuclear. Gary Cook, Greenpeace’s IT policy analyst and lead author of the report, said: ‘Consumers want to know that when they upload a video or change their Facebook status that they are not contributing to global warming or future Fukushimas.’

Carus reports, “The report estimated dependence on coal for Apple’s data centres at 54.5%, followed by Facebook at 53.2%, IBM at 51.6%, HP at 49.4%, and Twitter at 42.5%. Top marks in Greenpeace’s clean energy index went to Yahoo, followed by Google and Amazon. Greenpeace is also campaigning for Facebook to “unfriend coal” and use cleaner energy to power its servers.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Greenpeace, like Consumer Reports, just can’t help themselves; those huge Apple coattails and the resulting free PR blitzes are obviously just too much to resist.

If Greenpeace wants to affect how electricity is produced, perhaps they should target the power providers? After all, Apple can’t just zap whatever pie-in-the-sky, run-it-on-lima-bean-juice “clean” electricity source Greenpeace pretends is cost-effective all the way from Delusional, Dreamland to Maiden, North Carolina.

Related articles:
Greenpeace drops Apple to 9th as HP, Samsung advance in ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ – October 26, 2010
Greenpeace spotlights links between Apple’s iPad, the Internet, and climate change – March 31, 2010
William Shatner and Greenpeace leave HP reminders, including ‘Hazardous Products’ painted on roof – July 28, 2009
Greenpeace: Apple fails to meet ‘computer detox’ deadline – January 07, 2009
BusinessWeek: Apple is greener than Greenpeace says – December 08, 2008
Apple’s score plummets as Greenpeace expands ranking criteria in its Guide to Greener Electronics – June 25, 2008
Greenpeace intends to ride Apple’s PR coattails for as long as possible – January 18, 2008
Greenpeace gives Apple improving environmental marks; ranks Microsoft near bottom – November 27, 2007
BusinessWeek: Why Greenpeace repeatedly makes flawed attacks on Apple – October 26, 2007
Chemical Industry Group slams Greenpeace over unfair iPhone criticisms – October 22, 2007
Greenpeace admits that Apple’s iPhone is fully compliant with Euro chemicals rules – October 16, 2007
Apple faces lawsuit based on Greenpeace’s ‘toxic’ iPhone Report – October 15, 2007
Greenpeace attacks Apple over ‘hazardous chemicals’ in iPhone – October 15, 2007
Apple greener than Greenpeace wants you to think – May 03, 2007
Greenpeace ranks Apple dead last in ‘environmental friendliness’ – April 03, 2007
EPA does not support Greenpeace’s charges against Apple Computer – January 07, 2007
Apple places last in Greenpeace ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ report – December 07, 2006
Mac Expo evicts Greenpeace campaigners – October 26, 2006
Is Greenpeace lying about Apple’s ‘toxic laptops?’ – September 25, 2006
Greenpeace ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ report called ‘misleading and incompetent’ – September 02, 2006
Greenpeace criticizes Apple over toxic waste – August 29, 2006


    1. Apple’s products get better with energy conservation and management every year. Could be that Al Gore is working with people who are actually making improvements, rather than wasting time on politics with groups like Greenpeace.

      1. Then maybe Al Gore would do well to encourage Apple to twist the arm of the energy providers, rather than Apple simply ignoring the issue just because it happened to be Greenpeace who said something about it.

        1. Wow, four comments about Al Gore and not one of them argues that global warming doesn’t exist!

          In fact, the wrongist comment so far is MDN’s own Take, suggesting that power consumers don’t have the power to influence their power mix. In fact, probably 80% of US MDN readers have the option to buy 100% renewable power through their local utility. Of course a buyer the size of Apple won’t have that option (there just isn’t enough renewable power on the grid for them), but they could always invest in some like Google is doing.

          1. Okay Fredo, I’ll be the first. Global Warming (caused by humans) doesn’t exist. BTW, it’s now called Climate Change, because the earth is now cooling, and the fear mongers want to make sure all bases are covered.

            It will eventually start heating up again, so don’t worry. And then more time will pass and it will cool down again. Only thing you can predict, as far as climate goes, it that it won’t stay the same and there’s NO WAY to control it.

            1. Bingo! Dumbass in the house. Thanks for not disappointing! Write me back in 10 years or so when it’s clear how disastrously wrong you are, and how much irreversible economic damage your kind has left to our kids.

            2. Ah, resorting to name-calling. Nice. As for writing back in 10 years, don’t you really mean *another* 10 years? We’ve already gone through Global Warming, Climate Change and now they are trying the Extreme Weather argument. And let’s not forget our impact on causing larger, more frequent earthquakes.

              What’s next? How humans are causing the sun to burn out faster than predicted? What impact cars are having on the earth’s rotation?

              Things change, get used to it. This is FUD working and you’re falling for it hook, line and sinker.

            3. May I recommend you watch An Inconvenient Truth and see the evidence for yourself. The most drastic changes have come within the past century. It’s because of industrialization. It’s not just natural phenomena we’re dealing with here.

            4. Have seen that movie and it’s a farce, as far as reaching conclusions on the topic of Global Warming/Climate Change/Weather Extremes. Try googling “An Inconvenient Truth lies” or something similar.

              BTW, I am not saying we shouldn’t recycle and try to protect our resources and be better people, just saying that you are being fed a bunch of lies for political agendas. Change happens.

            5. Fredo wants to hear back when we’ve left a mess for our kids. Perhaps you can then explain to him that the astronomically biggest thing we did to damage the environment was having those same kids he worries about.

              Personally I think you can write him back and 10 years and ask for a refund on all the money we wasted tackling hot air.

            6. What I can say as a chemist, is that greenhouse effect exists beyond doubt and is mainly caused by carbon dioxide and methane molecules. What is debatable is whether this phenomenon really causes global climate change and I am not so sure about that, no matter what AG and others say. The second question is why carbon dioxide induced “global warming” is considered so important by those “fighting” for the environment, when other matters like non-recyclable waste, deforestation and nuclear leaks, to name but a few, have much more certain and pronounced negative effects on our future. This is politics of course…

            7. I had to comment on this PC. Your statement talking about the world cooling and heating….there is basis for this argument….but it also takes thousands upon thousands of years for that change to occur! I don’t understand why media push the envelope that its nature changing temperature. NATURE doesn’t change temperature at the rate we are witnessing today.

            8. It does not really matter who you believe on the global warming issue. What really matters the consequences of being mistaken.

              If we believe the global warming ‘fear mongers’ and are mistaken, we have a cleaner world as a result.

              If we believe global warming denial ‘dumbasses’ and are mistaken, we will destroy our environment.

              I prefer to err on the side of having a cleaner world.

            9. I’ll go on record with this: Global Warming Deniers do not exist. It’s all a plot of the politicians to scare us.

              Sure, some people SAY Global Warming Deniers exist, but there’s no real science behind it. They are a myth. Wake up people!

              That’s right: I’m a Global-Warming-Denier Denier.

            10. @Bud-WhyZer: you’re absolutely correct: the question comes down to risk management of the potential consequences of being wrong. And it isn’t that the Earth won’t survive – – it will. The question is to what degree Human civilization will be impacted.

              …and in the meantime, the Antarctic Ocean has become 0.1 pH more acidic because process-wise it is a CO2 absorber.


      2. No, the former Tobacco Farming Braggard Senator and Occidental Petroleum insider turned Greenie, is pretty much worthless as a Bump on a Log as Green Goes.

  1. I agree, it’s unfortunate that Apple was rated so low, particularly when it comes to the green strides they’ve made in making their products. But I hope, instead of making a backlash and arguing with Greenpeace for their findings, Apple takes this as a call to action to go to their energy providers and say, “Hey! You! Clean up your act! That’s right, we’re talking to you!”

    1. Apple shouldn’t bother doing any such thing. The more they capitulate to them the more Greenpeace will try and use that as leverage. No matter what they will find some way to shovel the shit Apple’s way.

      They know attacking Apple brings a lot of attention to them and they – like Consumer Reports – got addicted to the Apple bashing smack after they tried it once.

      No matter what Apple does it won’t be good enough for those c***suckers.

    2. By locating the plant in NC, they are firmly entrenched in coal territory, and will have little to no success in getting their power provider to switch to something else. But Apple could add solar panels or wind turbines (if there’s enough wind) to the rooftops of the facility to supplement the coal and nuclear. However, I doubt there are any state incentives/rebates for renewables in NC.

    1. Nope. They won’t go after any of the other companies that use Duke Energy either. Apple is too easy a target. Just mentioning Apple gets free hits on every pro and anti Apple website, furthering the reach of their ‘message’ and maybe bringing more donations into their coffers.

    1. The curly light bulb has far less mercury in it than the coal plant will release into the air producing all the extra energy an incandescent bulb requires. Provided you recycle the curly bulb and don’t break it, the mercury in the CFL will not go into the environment.

      1. “Provided you recycle the curly bulb and don’t break it, the mercury in the CFL will not go into the environment.”

        That’s fine, then. Certainly, I’ve never broken a light bulb in my many decades of life – yeh, right.

      1. Maybe you have a point, however, I’d contend that it’s difficult to out-silly Greenpeace. To me at least, it seems Ubermac was playing the same silly name calling game to make a far reaching point introduced by Greenpeace.

        1. You are FAR too kind. He was doing what many do on this site, and many others – failing to give any facts or make any logical points and just spewing some emotion-laden words without, apparently, knowing what they actually mean.

          1. Seamus, Seamus, Seamus… If you have strong feeling about something, it MUST be true, don’t you know that? Otherwise you wouldn’t have such a strong feeling about it.


      2. Didn’t the original co-founder of Greenpeace say he left the organization in the 90’s because it had been taken over by socialists? IIRC he said that, after the Berlin Wall came down, the western socialists/communists/sympathizers had no way to credibly continue to push their cause, so they invaded and took over the environmental movement, forcing aside the actual environmental causes for their politically motivated (i.e. socialist) ones.

        I’d support Greenpeace if i could actually BELIEVE they motivated by altruism. I do not.

  2. It is absolute silliness like this that has made me a non-Greenpeace advocate for many years. As MDN said, go after the producer, not the user of the power. By the way, all of this is for naught unless we do something about population. As I often tell people, when mother earth is done with us, we will be discarded just like the dinosaurs. And mother earth will go on, all the better for it.

    1. Jim, you mention a topic that is apparently taboo, and yet it is the cause of every single significant problem on the planet: overpopulation. It took 130 years for the Earth’s population to increase from 1 to 2 billion. It has taken barely more than 11 years to go from 6 billion to nearly 7 billion. By mid century there will be 9 billion. In NO WAY will it be possible to support that many people without hundreds of nuclear plants. Unless Greenpeace — which I generally support — can certify that all of its employees have elected to be child free, then the organization is contributing to the problem. As you indicate, the environment is not fragile, the human race is. Apple’s electricity source is in no way the problem. The problem is us, reproducing like a species of rabbit never before seen.

      1. The subject is taboo only recently. It was a major concern in the 50s and 60s culminating in a flawed best-selling book entitled “The Population Bomb”.

        I think the subject needs to be re-popularized with better science and data.

        1. That is absolutely right. And the raw numbers for population growth are frightening. Yet it is the topic that few of us are willing to acknowledge, and fewer still are willing to confront. All that said, Apple only needs to contribute to development of alternative energy to help offset the supposed impact of its NC facility. Greenpeace is being unreasonable when it expects companies to add the source of its power supplies to the huge list of otherwise desirable environmental concerns for every project.

      2. Relax: The current world fertility rate per woman is 2.82. By 2050 it will be about 2.0; basically she will be bearing a replacement for her and her mate. It turns out that poor people have more children, and the better off you are the fewer children you want and the world has been getting richer of late.

        We were all supposed to have died of over-population caused famines by 1995. I suspect that dire predictions for 2050, (as well as any rosy scenarios you care to mention) have an equal chance of coming through.

        What I *will* predict is that all the government Ponzi schemes that depend on a growing population contributing into them to keep them viable will be crashing down soon. I hope you’re not depending on retiring on Social Security.

        1. Ah yes, by 2050, when the world’s population, by the UN’s medium range forecast puts 9 billion people on the planet, with a far larger per capita demand (owing to an increase in prosperity) on scarce resources. Relax, you say — which is precisely the attitude that helped bring on the problem of overpopulation in the first place. Actually, I can relax. I will get social security, or at least a chunk of it, and be outta here before things really go TU.

  3. Going after Apple is Greenpeace’s way to try and grab some headlines and shine some light on the subject.

    Do you think ANYONE, ANYWHERE gives a Flying Fook™ about Acer or Asus or Dell?

    Yeah, I didn’t think so…

  4. Target power providers my shiny metal @$$… If Greenpeace is SO concerned about how the power is produced they need to quit kvetching and invest into developing an alternate power source themselves.

    pissing, moaning, and picking on the power using company de-jour accomplishes nothing.

    Interestingly, they complain about the dirty data centers, but we don’t see them removing their internet presence in protest. Putup or shutup.

    1. So there’s no role for advocacy, and for everyone who wants something not on the market, their only option is to go into business and make it themselves?

      Very practical 😉

      BTW, Greenpeace has solar panels on its roof in DC, but info on where it buys the rest of its power is harder to find. It’s silly to suggest that Greenpeace build power plants or “remove their Internet presence,” but it would be only fair of them to select 100% renewable power wherever it’s available as an option from their utilities, and track their progress in doing so.

  5. The more you keep bickering about Greenpeace, the more you ignore the real problem. We should be working together to make the world greener, not fighting amongst ourselves.

  6. I’m all for being environmentally responsible, but GP is just an attention whore using Apple to keep their name in the headlines. They aren’t winning any converts and it really is a turn off to people like me who are interested in hearing about responsible solutions but hate the drama.

  7. It’s funny, really.

    If America stopped using gasoline, diesel, coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power and relied upon green power like wind, solar and water power, it would be a very quiet, very dark, very cold in the north and very hot in the south, impoverished country.

    But, Greenpeace will be very happy.

  8. The problem with Greenpeace is that their mandate has changed from “change the world” to “profit through publicity”.

    Apple has more equity and a better image in the minds of most consumers. Greenpeace will eventually learn to steer clear of this seemingly juicy target.

    1. The problem is that their mandate is a moving target. They began with a clear mission to stop the killing of endangered whales. They were largely successful, and I applaud those original GPers. But now they are simply a donation collection machine trying to stay relevant. I don’t doubt that the faces and speakers for GP are sincere, but I suspect that those in real control of what is left of GP care more about cash flow than dirty data centers.

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