Apple moving up in green rankings

When Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Air at Macworld Expo in January 2008, he promoted its environmental benefits including being completely mercury and arsenic free, exceeding European Standards.In May 2007 Apple also promised to completely eliminate the use of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) in the printed wiring on motherboards, and arsenic in the glass of all flat-panel displays by the end of 2008.

Jobs touts the environment in his Macworld Expo keynote
When Steve Jobs announced the MacBook Air at Macworld Expo in January 2008, he promoted its environmental benefits including being completely mercury and arsenic free, exceeding European Standards.

In May 2007 Apple also promised to completely eliminate the use of Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) and Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) in the printed wiring on motherboards, and arsenic in the glass of all flat-panel displays by the end of 2008. Sony was the first to go BFR and PVC-free last November with their Vaio notebook, according to Greenpeace.

While the MacBook Air has less PVC and BFRs than other Mac computers, it is not entirely free of them. Had it been it would have made Apple an ecological leader.

A recent update to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics shows that Apple is greener than Microsoft and that Nintendo is the worst eco-offender. The Guide ranks top market leaders of the mobile phone, computer, TV and games console markets according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals and takeback.

Apple moving up in green electronics rankings

In the first three iterations of the Greenpeace Guide, from March 2006 to August 2007, Apple was stuck at a dismal 2.5/10. Then in June 2007, Apple jumped to 5.5 and to 6.0 in December 2oo7. In the seventh version of the guide, published this month, Apple jumped to 6.7, tied with Sony Ericsson, LGE, FSC and HP.

Apple continues it's steady rise due to new products like the MacBook Air with less toxic chemicals helping boost Apple to 6.7.

Companies performing better include Nokia, Sony, Lenovo and Dell (tied at 7.3) and Samsung and Toshiba win the day tied for first with 7.7/10.

From the Apple report (PDF):

Apple continues to progress up the ranking to 9th position from 11th, having improved its score for the new models of MacBook and MacBook Pro with the majority of internal cables free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and the majority of circuit board laminates free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs).  New iMacs are also sold with bromine-free casings and printed circuit board laminates as well as PVC-free internal cables.

Many iPods now have bromine-free casings and printed circuit board laminates. The company has committed to eliminate all uses of PVC and BFRs in its products by the end of 2008. It also provides examples of additional substances that it plans to eliminate, with timelines, such as arsenic in LCDs and mercury.  But Apple still needs to provide a strong commitment to the principles of precaution and Individual Producer Responsibility, post its Restricted/Banned Substance list on the web and improve geographical coverage of its take-back programmes.

Sidebar: So why's Nintendo in the dumps? They made some tiny changes to score 0.3 since being the first company to score 0 when added last November. Nintendo ranks so low because they have no public policy on toxics elimination or recycling, unlike the other 17 companies in the guide.

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