While it excels in some areas, Apple needs to improve in terms of the energy used in computer manufacture and needs to deliver much improved global e-waste schemes, according to the latest Greenpeace report.

It’s not all bad news for Apple – the company is one of the two best firms in terms of energy efficiency in its products, with all of them meeting and, in many cases, exceeding Energy Star requirements. However, Apple missed a big chance to advance its score by not improving the environmental performance of the new version of the iPhone, Greenpeace notes.

 

The latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics rates company performance on a range of categories, but this eighth edition introduces expanded and tougher criteria on toxic chemicals, electronic waste and new criteria on climate change. It ranks the top market leaders of the mobile phone, computer, TV and games console markets according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals and take-back schems and more.

Companies are scored on disclosure of their greenhouse gas emissions, commitment for absolute cuts in their own emissions and support for the mandatory global emissions reductions that are needed to tackle climate change. On energy efficiency, a selection of each company’s product range is assessed to see how far they exceed the current de-facto global standard, Energy Star. The overall percentage of renewable energy in a companies total energy use is also assessed. 

Apple took eleventh place, scoring 4.1 points, mainly due to putting products on the market whose key components are free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and PVC vinyl plastic.

"For example, all new models of iMac and the MacBook Air have bromine-free casings and printed circuit board laminates as well as PVC-free internal cables. Millions of iPods now have bromine-free enclosures and printed circuit board laminates. The MacBook Air also has mercury free LCD display with arsenic-free glass. MacBook Pros come with mercury-free LED backlit displays," Greenpeace explains.

"Apple scores poorly on most e-waste criteria, except for reporting a recycling rate in 2006 of 9.5 per cent as a percentage of sales seven years ago. It does only slightly better on energy criteria, failing to score on all criteria except energy efficiency of products, where it scores top marks (doubled) for all desktops computers, portable PCs and displays complying with Energy Star 4.0 and their iPod and iPhone power adapters not only exceeding the Energy Star standard, but already meeting California’s stricter efficiency regulations that take effect 1 July 2008."

 

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