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Apple gets trashed in Greenpeace report card and comes back fighting

By Kenneth Barbalace
[Wednesday, May 02, 2007]
Apple can be secretive to an extreme and when Greenpeace questioned major electronics companies about their environmental initiatives, Apple's secretiveness included what measures they are taking and have taken to remove hazardous chemicals from their manufacturing processes and products. It was a classic "we don't need to tell you" attitude. While the other companies were tripping over each other to gain better rankings on Greenpeace's reports, Apple computers gave Greenpeace the cold shoulder. As a result of not being completely forthcoming with their environmental practices, Greenpeace ranked Apple dead last out of fourteen leading computer companies in their April 3, 2007 report. The Apple fans at Greenpeace seemed almost despondent in their write up about Apple's failings.

Well, apparently that report and subsequent bad PR really stung Apple's pride and Apple cofounder and CEO Steve Jobs has come out fighting with a five page letter. Steve goes into great detail as to what Apple has been doing to eliminate hazardous chemicals from their products and manufacturing processes as well as what measures they are taking to recycle more of their consumer goods that have reached the end of their product life. At the same time Steve takes decidedly hostile stabs at Apple's competitors, discounting the environmental initiatives of those competitors.

It is very good to see that Apple's poor grade in Greenpeace's report was simply due to a failure on Apple's part to be completely candid as to what initiatives they are taking. At the same time, however, Steve Jobs' bitterness and stabs at other computer companies do not reflect well on him or Apple. It is not Greenpeace's fault that Apple came in last in Greenpeace's report. It is Apple's fault for having a culture of secrecy and failing to be completely transparent in matters of what they are doing to be an environmentally responsible company. Steve Job's apology at the end of his letter would have been more convincing had he just sucked it up and focused on Apple without trash talking its competitors.


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