Apple takes fourth place in the latest “Guide to Greener Electronics,” as issued by Greenpeace (http://www.greenpeace.org/).
Apple has a score of 4.6, getting most of its points on the Sustainable Operations. It gets near to maximum points on the e-waste criteria, where it reports that in 2010, its global recycling exceeded its 70% goal (as a percentage of sales seven years ago), a level that it is confident will be maintained through 2015.
Greenpeace says Apple can still make improvements by providing a breakdown of its recycling data and by further extending its take-back program. Together with HP, Apple is also a top scorer for its policies and practices on the sourcing of conflict minerals, for publishing its suppliers and engaging effectively in the Electronics Industry Citizenship Coalition’s conflict-free smelter program.
“Apple would score more points on the other criteria with greater transparency of its data in reporting the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of its supply chain and disclosure of the documents it uses to communicate with its supply chain for chemicals management,” says Greenpeace. “It scores zero on paper sourcing, and needs to develop a paper procurement policy which excludes suppliers that are involved in deforestation and illegal logging.”
Per the environmental group, Apple scores poorly on the Energy criteria; GHG emissions data of its operations needs to have external verification and it doesn’t specify any target to reduce emissions. Apple earns more points for the the steps it has taken to improve energy efficiency and its use of renewable energy, which represents more than 13% of Apple’s facility-related electricity consumption.
Greenpeace says Apple could increase its score by setting an ambitious goal for boosting its renewable energy use by 2020. Apple provides no specific examples of clean energy policy advocacy.
Apple continues to score well on the Products criteria; all Apple products are now free of PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), with the exception of PVC-free power cords in countries where their safety certification process is still ongoing. However, it doesn’t mention plans to phase out antimony or beryllium.
Apples cores a point for its information on battery life for the product life cycle criterion, but it needs to publicly disclose the length of warranty and spare parts availability for its main product lines, says Greenpeace. It provides no information on its use of post-consumer recycled plastics.
Greenpeace says that Apple gets maximum points for reporting that all of its products meet or exceed the latest Energy Star standards for energy efficiency; however, it risks a penalty point in future Guide editions as it is a member of a trade association that has commented against stringent energy efficiency standards; it needs to distance itself from such regressive positions with a strong statement.