Greenpeace praises Apple for cutting conflict minerals, supply chain transparency

Greenpeace praises Apple for cutting conflict minerals, supply chain transparency

Summary: In a rare move Greenpeace gives Apple kudos for social and environmental responsibility, calling it a hallmark of Tim Cook's leadership

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware
Greenpeace praises Apple for cutting conflict minerals, supply chain transparency - Jason O'Grady
Photo: Apple, Inc.

Greenpeace Energy Campaigner Tom Dowdall released a statement today in response to Apple's release of its 2014 Supplier Responsibility report:

Apple's increased transparency about its suppliers is becoming a hallmark of Tim Cook's leadership at the company. Apple has flexed its muscles in the past to push suppliers to remove hazardous substances from products and provide more renewable energy for data centers, and it is proving the same model can work to reduce the use of conflict minerals.  Samsung and other consumer electronics companies should follow Apple's example and map its suppliers, so the industry can exert its collective influence to build devices that are better for people and the planet.

Greenpeace's comments lauding Apple are a far cry from its complaints about Apple's practices over the years. The environmental group rated Apple as "bottom of the barrel" in its 2007 green ranking of the technology industry. 

Apple has made numerous changes in its supply chain in response to criticisms of its environmental record. In 2007 Apple switched from fluorescent lamps (containing Mercury) to LEDs, in 2008 Apple phased out arsenic, Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC). Apple's Environment microsite tracks its environmental footprint, including its commitment to using renewable energy in its data centers.

Also impressive is Apple's new, totally greeen, "spaceship" campus due to open in 2016. 

The plan is for the facility to run entirely on renewable energy, drawing largely from on-site fuel cell plants and rooftop photovoltaic arrays. Natural ventilation and radiant cooling mean that the spaceship won’t need air conditioning for some 70 percent of the year. 

MacRumors notes that Apple has confirmed that its partners use only ethically sourced tantalum, which is a primary metal used in electronic components that can be also be mined from war-torn regions in Africa. Apple's senior vice president of operations Jeff Williams told The Wall Street Journal:

In the company's 2014 Supplier Responsibility report published on Wednesday, Apple identified that its suppliers use 20 global smelters or refiners whose tantalum has been verified by third-party auditors as what the industry calls "conflict-free." Jeff Williams, Apple's senior vice president of operations, said the company has had success in pressuring tantalum smelters to agree to a third-party audit because Apple and other consumer electronics firms are the biggest users of the metal.

Today's comments by Greenpeace are a ringing endorsement for Apple's record on the environment and a feather in Tim Cook's hat. Apple's 2014 Supplier Responsibility Report microsite is an excellent read and is the new benchmark that all other technology companies should be measured by.

Tip: Peter Cohen

Topics: Apple, Hardware

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  • Er...

    Admirable. But: Is it good to be praised by nut jobs?

    Former Greenpeace founder now admits his opposition to nuclear power was seriously misguided. But the damage has been done.
    • Let me guess...

      you think global warming is a farce.
      • dont you get it?

        nuclear power cuts down on global warming because it doesn't burn gas oil or coal to make electricity. how did you think that by him saying that it means he doesn't think global warming is real?
      • Global warming is a farce

        people who still cling to it despite the damning evidence of faked data, not to mention basic physics of radiative cooling, failed predictions of the models used, inability to model cloud cover, etc, etc. believe in it not because of science, but because of ideology.
        • I would agree with you

          If the vast vast majority of the world's climate scientists on every continent on earth were not saying the opposite.
          • Scientists, what do they know?

            They probably think the earth is more than 6000 years old!

    • It's a plot!

      Greenpeace is trying to destroy Apple by persuading Conservatives that it's part of the worldwide socialist conspiracy!
      John L. Ries
  • Who gives a hang what Greenpeace thinks

    these guys are whack jobs just this side of ecoterrorists.
  • The Headline Should Read:

    "Tim Cook Focuses on Green Energy. Destroys Apple Innovation in Process."

    Sure... He's cutting costs and going green, but where's the innovation? The attention to detail? The groundbreaking products?

    All that stuff died with Steve Jobs. Now we're left with Tim "Number Cruncher" Cook who only focuses on bean-counting and green energy while the rest of the tech companies are eating Apple's lunch.

    So a bunch of Greenpeacers think Tim did something great. Big deal. He probably bought an over-priced, under-powered Prius, too which is probably where he got the idea for the iPhone 5/5S...

    Sitting in bed one night, Tim Cook sits bolt upright and declares, "Let's make an over-priced, under-powered device and sell it to the masses with a green energy sticker on the box. The hipsters will love it! We'll call it 'The Apple Prius.'"

    To which his significant other replied, "Tim, Toyota has the Prius, you can't do that... Be innovative."

    "I know," says Cook, "It shall be named... The iPhone 5 and then, the 5S. And the 6! And the 6S! And the 7! And..."

    His significant other, sleepily, and with a tone of mild annoyance replies, "While you're being innovative, go get me a glass of water. And turn out that light. It's 9:00 at night! I want to be up by 6 to catch Matlock before our morning jog."

    Thus, the under-powered, over-priced iPhone 5S was born.
  • Mystery solved

    Great news! I just checked the Kardashian website and Kim confirmed that global warming has nothing to do with power plants or Apple but is directly related to the size of her ass and the volume of refried beans she eats. Kim also confirmed that America really did land on the moon, the media always tells the truth, scientists have never been paid off by the oil companies and yes indeed, a goat farmer from Afghanistan brought down the World Trade Centre. We can all sleep well tonight knowing that if the French sink another Greenpeace ship, those bastard tree huggers had it coming.