Apple has responded to criticism by environmental groups by announcing plans to remove toxic chemicals from its products, including Mac computers and iPod MP3 players, as well as increase its recycling of old products.
Cupertino, California-based Apple is by no means the only computer company to be improving its environmental credentials, but the announcement of a new green strategy by CEO, Steve Jobs, is significant given the attention placed on Apple by the likes of Greenpeace.
The environmental organization has recently made Apple the focus of its attention as it attempts to persuade technology companies to reduce their use of toxic chemicals and increase recycling.
That focus appears to have had an impact, judging by the Jobs’s announcement of Apple’s green initiative. Whatever other improvements we need to make, it is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well, he stated.
The announcement of A Greener Apple also seemed to suggest some frustration at the attention placed on Apple’s environmental record, with Jobs taking a few side-swipes at the record of competitors including HP, Dell, and Lenovo.
Apple completely eliminated the use of CRTs in mid-2006, Jobs wrote, noting that the reduction in the cathode-ray tubes has meant a reduction in lead. A note of comparison – Dell, Gateway, Hewlett Packard and Lenovo still ship CRT displays today.
On the subject of what Apple is doing, rather than what its rivals are not doing, Jobs wrote that Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of arsenic in all of its displays by the end of 2008, and to eventually eliminate the use of mercury by transitioning to LED backlighting. The first Macs with LED backlight technology are due to be introduced this year.
Additionally, Jobs said Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs [Brominated flame retardants] in its products by the end of 2008, a year ahead of Dell and Lenovo.
On the subject of recycling, Jobs stated that Apple recycled 13 million pounds of equipment in 2006, equal to 9.5% of the weight of all products Apple sold seven years earlier – a measured proposed by Dell to reflect the lifecycle of a product.
We expect this percentage to grow to 13% in 2007, and to 20% in 2008. By 2010, we forecast recycling 19 million pounds of e-waste per year – nearly 30% of the product weight we sold seven years earlier, he added.
Given its campaigning efforts, Greenpeace declared itself happy with Apple’s new strategy as a starting point, but encouraged the company to improve its record on environmental issues even further to become green to the core.