With the amount of craze built around the public sale of the much anticipated iPhone currently dominating the headlines and RSS feeds of the internet, another timely news that would even boost the love wave Apple has been getting this past few weeks.
International eco-watchers Greenpeace has praised Apple, Inc. for its recent moves and efforts to make its electronic products cleaner and more friendly to mother nature.
Greenpeace has moved Apple up its green electronics rankings thanks to Steve Job’s promises to phase out PVCs and other chemical nasties from its products, but the top spot goes to Nokia.
Greenpeace takes an aggressive tone in criticizing electronics manufacturers for e-waste, stating: ‘The electronics ranking guide has been our answer to getting the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste. We want manufacturers to take responsibility for the unprotected child laborers who scavenge the mountains of cast-off gadgets created by our gizmo-loving ways.’
It all started when Greenpeace launched the Green my Apple Campaign. A cyber campaign that aimed to increase the awareness among consumers and Mac users that the Macs they so love could be harboring environmentally-dangerous chemicals like brominated flame retardants (BFR) and vinyl plastics (PVC). It also called on for a more active participation of Apple in managing and handling old, discarded Macs so that their processing as ‘e-junk’ doesn’t do any harm to the environment, the people who process them and the community that surrounds the waste processing facilities.
Greenpeace rates the big electronics companies on the following criteria:
Chemicals policy and practice (5 criteria)
- A chemicals policy based on the Precautionary Principle
Chemicals Management: supply chain management of chemicals via e.g. banned/restricted substance lists, policy to identify problematic substances for future elimination/substitution
- Timeline for phasing out all use of vinyl plastic (PVC)
- Timeline for phasing out all use of brominated flame retardants (not just those banned by EU’s RoHS Directive)
- PVC- and BFR-free models of electronic products on the market.
Policy and practice on Producer Responsibility for taking back their discarded products and recycling (4 criteria)
- Support for individual (financial) producer responsibility – that producers finance the end-of-life management of their products, by taking back and reusing/recycling their own-brand discarded products.
- Provides voluntary takeback and recycling in every country where its products are sold, even in the absence of national laws requiring Producer Responsibility for electronic waste.
Provides clear information for individual customers on takeback and recycling services in all countries where there are sales of its products.
- Reports on amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) collected and recycled.
Enthusiasm and support from the community particularly Mac users proved to be effective as Steve Jobs finally made some announcements for a Greener Apple.
It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy.
Wonderful news indeed. And thanks to this, Apple has moved up the green charts of eco-friendly electronics companies. From the languishing in the bottom of the list last year, Apple has moved up the field into 10th position and Greenpeace has the details:
Apple has finally moved off the bottom of the scorecard and is now in 10th position with improvements on many criteria. The company has committed to eliminate all uses of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) in their products by the end of 2008. They now provide
examples of additional substances that they plan to eliminate with timelines, such as arsenic in LCDs and mercury, and Material Safety Data Sheets for all their products. But, Apple has yet to give consumers products free of PVC and BFRs.
Top marks to Apple for reporting on its recycling rate as a percentage (9.5%) of sales 7 years ago and for setting goals to recycle nearly 30% by 2010. It could score better by supporting the principle of individual producer responsibility for its end of life products globally.
Kudos to Apple! Mac users worldwide must be really proud of their Macs right now and even more ecstatic that the iPhone is now available to the masses.
Speaking of the iPhone, here’s one nagging question; How green is that iPhone?
Photo by Outbreaker