Apple has changed the tagline for its MacBooks from “the world’s greenest family of notebooks” to “the world’s greenest line of notebooks” because of a recommendation from the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division–a recommendation that came as a result of a request from rival computer-maker Dell. Yes, the green computer wars have begun.
Dell complained to the BBB’s advertising division that Apple’s four pillars of greenness–recyclability, reduced packaging, fewer toxic materials, and increasing energy efficiency–aren’t actually unique to Apple. In fact, Dell points out, other PC makers besides Apple (including Dell) have received a gold rating from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT).
In the end, NAD decided that most of Apple’s claims are fair since no computer manufacturer has comparably high EPEAT ratings for all of the notebooks it produces. NAD did suggest that Apple change the “greenest family” portion of its slogan to the “greenest line”to make it clear that the ” basis for the comparison is between all MacBooks to all of the notebooks manufactured by any given competitor.”
Semantics, right? Maybe, but Dell’s insistence on Apple using best practices in green advertising shows that some companies are so eager to be seen as environmentally savvy that they will police the other organizations in their industry. It doesn’t mean that we can stop paying attention to corporate claims, but it does mean that greenwashing might let up a tiny bit.
[Via WSJ Digits]