Apple Ranks Low in Green Report

Its users may be green, but the company has work to do, Greenpeace says.

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I'm typing this entry from an Apple iBook, which has never let me down until now. Nothing is wrong with the computer itself—it's Apple, rather, which ranked a disappointing 11th out of 18 tech companies on Greenpeace's most recent scoring of each company's environmental efforts. PC makers including Dell, Toshiba, and Samsung ranked higher, so maybe the " Get a Mac" guy should tone down the smug attitude a bit.

Greenpeace gave each of the companies a report card, scoring their recycling programs, removal of toxic chemicals from their products, carbon footprint, and product energy efficiency, among other factors. Apple earned high marks for planning to phase out PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and brominated flame retardants by the end of 2008, and also for exceeding Energy Star efficiency requirements. Despite this, it refuses to disclose its carbon footprint or amount of renewable energy used and has not announced any plans for using recycled plastic in products other than MacBook Air.

Of all the companies, Sony Ericsson and Sony fared best; they were commended by the organization for phasing out toxic chemicals and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Nintendo earned a failing grade with an 0.8 score on a 10-point scale, partly because of a 6 percent rise in emissions from the increased demand for the Wii.

Greenpeace, which began to rank tech companies in 2006, reassesses the scores every three months to commend companies making improvements and shame others into better habits. The environmental group says the report card aims to make companies:

• Clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances.

• Take back and recycle their products responsibly once they become obsolete.

• Improve their corporate policies and practices with respect to Climate and Energy.

These findings may surprise some Apple users—according to this survey, they're more likely to be green than any other brand's users, but many are also slavishly devoted to Apple. Will these findings make them consider a PC for their next purchase?