Apple Ranked as Bottom Electronics Company by Climate Counts

by , 10:40 PM EDT, May 8th, 2008

The Electronics category
Climate Counts Scorecard
Apple Inc. has been given a failing grade by Climate Counts, and was placed at the bottom of a list of 12 electronics companies also ranked by the organization. Climate Counts ranks companies on their practices to reduce global warming on a scale of zero to 100, and Apple was given a score of 11, some 66 points behind sector leader IBM, which scored a 77.

In the second annual Scorecard, Climate Counts evaluated 60 companies in nine different categories. The companies are rated on publicly available information in regards to their own approach, efforts, and policies to reduce global warming. This includes not only the companies internal efforts, but also their external focus on their various supply channels and other partners.

Climate Counts focuses on the "publicly available" aspect the information it evaluates because it is aiming the scorecards at consumers, whom Climate Counts looks on as a powerful force in changing corporate policies and efforts in the global warming arena.

"Climate Counts considers information made publicly available during the scoring period but is unable to evaluate information not also accessible to the general public," the group said in its report. "Information that must be specifically requested of companies by consumers and other stakeholders does not meet Climate Counts´┐Ż standard for public information."

According to the group's announcement, consumers armed with information are already affecting those policies. Gary Hirshberg, chairman of Climate Counts and CEO of organic yogurt maker Stonyfield Farm -- the company funding the group, said in a statement, "The Scorecard allows consumers to make good climate decisions in their everyday purchases, and it's having an impact."

It is, perhaps, that publicly available aspect of Climate Counts' methodology that has had the biggest impact on Apple's score. Apple, a company famed for its secrecy, scored 11 out of 100, the lowest score of the 12 tech companies in that category, and less than a third the average score of 39.3.

A look at Apple's individual scorecard, available in full in the group's report, shows many scores of zero in categories such as whether or not GHG (Greenhouse Gasses) emissions have been inventoried, goals having been set, what level of management has talked about those goals (still zero in the case of Apple, which Climate Counts said has not stated any goals to begin with), (public) management plans for reducing GHG emissions, and a policy stance on legislation mandating corporate caps on emissions.

Areas where Apple did show a score include:

Has the company made successful efforts to reduce GHG impacts associated with the use of its products/services?" (4 out of 4)

Does the company work to educate its employees, trade association, and/or customers on how they can reduce individual GHG emissions (through direct education programs, incentives, or philanthropic projects)? (3 out of 4)

Has the company taken steps towards achieving reduction target? (Interim progress on reduction) (1 out of 8)

Is the company publicly reporting on emissions, risks, and actions? How is information disclosed? Company-based (e.g., on their website or annual report) or through a credible third-party program (e.g., CDP, GRI, etc.)? (3 out of 10)

All other scores for Apple were zero. On a positive note, Apple's low score of 11 is nine points higher than it received in the 2007 Scorecard.