If you know me, you’re probably aware I’m not a big fan of Apple. That’s not exactly a true statement. I actually like Apple. I think they’re a good company, I just think there are far too many people caught up in the idea of Apple and the image surrounding Apple than they are the actual machines themselves. But, that point could be debated for ages I’m sure.
Apple caused controversy recently by performing a rather embarrassing u-turn on their green ratings issue. An upcoming redesign of the Apple’s hardware line meant that their Macbooks, iPads and iPhones will no longer satisfy the EPEAT ratings that determine the “green-ness” of a product and whether it easily recycled. EPEAT monitors the energy efficiency and recyclability of electrical goods.
The Cause of the Issue
The problem seemed to stem from the fact that Apple seems to be making its new line of products non-upgradable (fixed memory, etc) and non recyclable (fixing the battery to the laptop itself, preventing both parts from being recycled). Wouldn’t that also mean that once the battery died and could no longer hold a charge the laptop would be useless?
Apple then shocked everyone performing a total 180 and rejoining the scheme, even claiming the gold standard rating for its new Macbook Pro. Management came out to admit that it was a mistake to publically disengage from the scheme. Pressure from consumers turned out to play a pivotal role in persuading Apple that no longer being associated with the scheme would greatly harm the appeal of the company.
The Green Pioneers
The city of San Francisco led the way by announcing that it would no longer buy Apple computers for its public services. San Francisco is known as a tech-hungry city with recent campaigns to increase high speed broadband after broadband speed tests disappointed individual consumers. It might surprise some people to know that Apple’s corporate sales do not compare favorably to companies like Dell and HP, however hanging onto its corporate clientele is extremely important for the tech giant.
Greenpeace have recently attacked Apple for relying on coal-fire energy to support its iCloud feature, producing a video attacking Apple’s energy sourcing. Apple have been criticized for not living up to their green credentials while enjoying the top spot as the world’s most profitable tech company.
There is always going to be a constant tension between innovation and the imposition of standards. It’s sometimes hard to assess the greenness of a completely new technology, and retina screens are one example of this. Even so, Apple have been keen to shoulder the blame and publically admit their mistake.
What Are Your Views?
Do you think this is a case of Apple trailblazing and falling out of step with EPEAT, or a case of Apple putting their profit line before the environment? Whatever the internal politics, we’ll be able to find out more as new products launch and their new build and specs become clear. It’s interesting to see how consumers will react to this PR blip from Apple. Are green credentials important to you and would a loss of green cred prevent you from buying from your favorite tech company?