Apple ranks last on this good-to-environment list
California firm takes issue with Greenpeace report findings
Apple Computer Inc. may be cool and hip with consumers, but it's anything but a trendsetter when it comes to good environmental policies, according to activist group Greenpeace.
In its latest report on major electronics manufacturers, Greenpeace ranked Apple dead last on environmental issues because it still uses harmful chemicals in many of its products and because it does a poor job promoting recycling efforts for its iPods and other products.
Near the top of Greenpeace's list for best companies: Dell Inc., ranked only behind Nokia in terms of environmental friendliness.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell scored points with the group because of its computer take-back and recycling program, which has become among the best in the industry.
Motorola Inc. has made the most improvements, according to Greenpeace, in part because it now makes more than 30 mobile phones and other products that don't contain harmful chemicals.
Apple, however, still relies heavily on toxic chemicals and plastics, Greenpeace said.
In a study by the group, Apple's new MacBook Pro laptop computers contained more of one type of a toxic flame-retardant chemical than any other top computer brand, for instance.
Such chemicals are thought to be potentially harmful to users, but also pollute the environment when they're disposed of, oftentimes in poor countries in Asia, Africa and elsewhere, Greenpeace said.
Apple also provides the least detail of any major electronics company about its environmental policies, the group said, and is the only major electronics maker that hasn't made any improvements to its environmental policies since a similar Greenpeace report four months ago."For a guiding company that is so inspirational to many, we really need to know about these problems and what they're doing about them," said Zeina Alhajj, a Greenpeace campaign coordinator.
Apple spokesman Steve Dowling took issue with the Greenpeace findings and the criteria behind the group's report.
Dowling said the Cupertino, Calif., company consistently scores high on other environmental rankings, including one created by a group called the Green Electronics Council that's based on Environmental Protection Agency standards. "Apple has a very strong environmental track record," he said.
Dowling and other Apple officials, including CEO Steve Jobs, have said the company has led the industry on some environmental issues.
It was a leader in eliminating the use of lead-containing cathode ray tube monitors, for example, and touts its promotion of wireless technology in helping eliminate cables and wires that can contain harmful polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.
How electronics companies rank from best to worst, based on environmental and recycling criteria set by Greenpeace.
5. Sony Ericsson
11. LG Electronics