Apple the Least Green of Big Four IT Companies


"Of the big four IT companies — Apple, Dell, HP, IBM — Apple has disclosed the least information and is the only one that has not made a major commitment to carbon footprint reduction." That's the conclusion of the director of As You Sow, an organization which uses shareholder activism as a tool to promote sustainability and corporate social responsibility. The information that Apple does release is in an idiosyncratic format that makes it very difficult to compare with other companies' products. The Carbon Disclosure Project releases a widely distributed and accepted survey to find out how companies are measuring and managing their carbon footprint. Apple deigned to answer only a few questions on the survey, scoring 7 on its disclosure vs. 91 for Dell and 88 for HP.

Apple is one of the most admired brands, both generally and among young people. The dean of climate change himself, Al Gore is one of Apple's most prominent board members and fans. So what gives? Why doesn't Gore exert more influence over the company to act and to disclose what it's doing? 


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  • Neil T

    If one of four companies (and I'm not saying which one) is effectively the greenest, yet only they know, that doesn't mean they're the least green company, it means they're the least transparent. There's some organizational self righteousness going on here that's distorting the message.

  • Emerson Churchill

    I like the fact that Apple doesn't open up more. They are truly paranoid about outsiders getting any kind of info on them, and it's fun to watch. Plus, just because this group's survey is "widely distributed" doesn't mean that Apple has to play along; it's not as if we're talking about government-mandated disclosures here. I totally back them on keeping whatever private info they choose private. The whole "green leadership" issue is a separate one that I will decline to discuss here.

  • Scott Kilmartin

    Apple's recent MacBook tv adv campaign pushing it's 'green' credentials could come back to bite it. Having Al Gore on the board gives the company green cred that it doesn't deserve...yet. Gore needs to push harder for more environmentally friendly initiatives. Part of the problem is that Apple is one of the least transparent companies on the globe. If they are not to be accused of green washing in their marketing, Apple will need to finally open up. Being more transparent doesn't necessarily mean losing the cool mystique the brand thrives on.

    Scott Kilmartin

  • Joe Momma

    Al Gore took a lot of heat from activists at the shareholder meeting and Apple is playing a dangerous game by marketing their "green-ness" ... definitely an area where the company needs to provide more leadership and innovation. Greater transparency would be nice but it's laughable to even think of Apple providing full disclosure about anything.