A greener Apple?

Written by Brett Thomas

May 3, 2007 | 14:23

Tags: #al-gore #pvc

Companies: #apple #greenpeace

When one thinks of the term "tree-hugger," one normally pictures that person being very environmentally friendly. In accordance with that "hippy" image, many people in the tech world also picture that person using a Mac. Hey, don't blame me, I didn't create the stereotype. But one would think that those two would go together then, and that Macs would be a bit more environmentally friendly.

Only, according to Greenpeace recently, they aren't. The organisation has really taken Cupertino to task over its use of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFR, used on the PCB) in its products, and has said that the company should look to the likes of Dell and Hewlett Packard for examples of a more eco-friendly build.

Steve Jobs finally got around to writing his rebuttal, released today in a six-page signed statement. And the answers were not only well to the point, but proved that Apple is already better than most of the companies Greenpeace compared it to, and is improving on the areas that it's not. Apparently, Apple already started reducing its PVC usage over 12 years ago, and since 2001 has been phasing out BFR. In fact, most iPods now ship with no-BFR boards.

Overall, the company uses many less of these harmful products per piece than the companies that Greenpeace is lauding as better examples of eco-friendliness. Both Dell and HP have made their moves to more eco-friendly products in more recent years, and produce more products to boot. However, Greenpeace has given them the thumbs up due to their "initiatives," promises that they are working to reduce this technology by some future date.

So why the disconnect? Steve-O blames it on communication. In his note, he states that Apple hasn't really done a great job of publicising its initiatives, including a greener Apple, to its shareholders or the media. The company prefers to talk about what it already has done rather than will do, Jobs explains. However, that's a method that he feels, in light of this issue, needs to be re-evaluated - it's now leaving stock holders, consumers, and groups "just trying to do the right thing" in the dark on Apple's plans.

Does this mean we'll get a little more open Apple? We hope so, but we won't hold our breath...even if the air is a little cleaner.

Do you have a thought on the greener Apple? Tell us about it in our eco-friendly forums. No animals were harmed, except where we caged RTT and threw him a keyboard...
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