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Greenpeace Raises Apple Rating After Open Letter

Greenpeace Raises Apple Rating After Open Letter

by , 8:10 AM EDT, May 3rd, 2007

The environmental group Greenpeace responded on Wednesday to the open letter from Apple CEO Steve Jobs on the company's environmental stance. The group raised Apple's rating in the Guide to Greener Electronics from 2.7 to 5 out of 10 - an indication that the organization was pleased with the Apple statement, but also that it seems at least as focused on rhetoric as action.

A statement on the Greenpeace Web site reads in part "Apple has declared a phase out of the worst chemicals in its product range, Brominated Fire Retardants (BFRs) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) by 2008. That beats Dell and other computer manufacturer's pledge to phase them out by 2009. Way to go Steve!"

In the letter, Mr. Jobs detailed Apple's plans to remove certain toxic chemicals from its products, enhance its product recycling program, and provide annual reports on the company's environmental progress. His words alone seem to have been enough to nearly double the Mac and iPod maker's ranking with Greenpeace.

Despite Apple's new found standing with Greenpeace, the environmental group is still looking for more. The organization also wants Apple to commit to world-wide recycling programs instead of just in the U.S., and to ship non-toxic products.

"Our work is not over until Apple users get that. We look forward to working with the new, greener Apple in future - toward the greening of the entire electronics industry."

Apple is still rated below HP and Dell by Greenpeace despite the fact that the company does not sell or manufacture CRT displays, was in compliance with RoHS standards before those standards went into effect, and has not used PVC in product packaging for 12 years. Many other computer manufacturers, however, offered more in the way of public statements even if they weren't yet following through with action.

"Upon investigating Apple's current practices and progress towards [environmental] goals, I was surprised to learn that in many cases Apple is ahead of, or will soon be ahead of, most of its competitors in these areas," Mr. Jobs said. "Whatever other improvements we need to make, it is certainly clear that we have failed to communicate the things that we are doing well."

Now that Apple is offering a more open view into its environmental plans, Greenpeace may find that it has to reevaluate again how it ranks Apple in comparison to other computer manufacturers.

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