Greenpeace, who has been measuring the energy performance of the information technology sector since 2009, has published its new ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ report, which provides insight into the environmental and renewable practices of 17 major companies including Apple, Samsung, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and others. The report ranks the companies based on their energy use, resource consumption, and chemical used.
Apple ranked second in the report leaving behind only Fairphone, a Netherlands based smartphone maker known for making smartphones with minimal impact on the environment. The Greenpeace report gives Apple a ‘B-,’ with the company getting ‘A-‘ in the energy department, ‘B’ in the Chemicals department, and ‘C’ in the Resources department.
The company was lauded for its commitment to using renewable energy and reducing the supply chain emissions. The report notes that Apple is the only company to have set a renewable energy goal for its supply chain, with many of its suppliers committing to using 100 percent renewable energy as well. Apple was also praised for its efforts to be transparent about the chemicals it uses in its products.
“Apple is the only company thus far that has committed to 100% renewable power for its supply chain,” Greenpeace noted in their report.
However, Greenpeace also criticises Apple for the planned obsolescence of its devices due to their non-removable batteries and overall design which makes repairing them tough.
“Faced with market saturation for their devices in many countries, companies across the sector have increasingly changed the design of their products in a way that accelerates the replacement cycle by, making them difficult to service or upgrade, shortening the useful life of otherwise functional devices. Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are among the companies moving in the wrong direction on sustainable product design. HP, Dell, and Fairphone are the notable exceptions to this trend, producing a growing number of products that are repairable and upgradable.”
Apple’s difficult-to-repair devices shorten the device lifespan and lead to more electronic waste. The Greenpeace organization has previously called out Apple for its poor repairability ratings and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. But the company’s efforts towards a closed-loop supply chain could eventually result in far less waste.
It is also reported that Apple and Sony have blocked attempts to strengthen environmental electronics standards that would encourage device designs that are easier to repair, upgrade, and disassemble for recycling.
Earlier this year, in Greenpeace’s annual green report, Apple was ranked the world’s most environmentally-friendly tech platform company for the third year in a row. That report focused on factors like energy efficiency, energy transparency, renewable energy commitment, and advocacy.