Greenpeace Demonstrates at Apple's Fifth Avenue Store in NY

More than sixty Greenpeace activists demonstrated at Appleis Glass Cube on Fifth Avenue in New York Thursday night. This was reported in an article at Yahoo News which said that the activists shone green lights on the entrance to the store in order to emphasize the Greenpeace stand on Appleis handling of e-waste.

The story quoted Rick Hind, Legistaltive Director of Greenpeace USAis Toxics campaign. "We are not only shining the light on the issue, but also on Apple?s unwillingness to be an industry leader on environmental progress."

Apple has been a target of Greenpeace USA ever since their December 6th report on the progress of 15 major electronics manufacturers in dealing with the hazardous waste reduction process.

A communication from Greenpeace shows that considerable weight in the evaluation of Apple is placed on Appleis public statements and what they have promised to do in the future -- based on demands from Greenpeace. However, Greenpeace has also disassembled five specific laptops from various manufacturers and analyzed them in terms of toxic substances. In the report summary, one specific substance was pointed to, TBBPA, a flame retardant, that Apple uses more of than the other notebooks examined. The synopsis also mentions that Apple is looking for alternatives. In other areas, such as heavy metals, Apple was on par with the other brands and better than Hewlett-Packard -- for those models only.

There are extreme complexities in rating any company on a quantitative basis. The Greenpeace notebook report itself concludes: "The results from this study are applicable to the specific model tested for each brand, and do not reflect the use of certain chemicals in the brand as a whole. These issues highlight the great difficulties in verifying that any individual product, or brand as a whole, is entirely free of a specific chemical."

In addition, how much weight a company gives to public statements and promises versus a complete examination of the entire product line, which is nearly impossible, confirms the difficulty of this process.

Another organization, the Sierra Club, has rated Apple highly for excellence in its environmental efforts. In April 2006, Apple was named a "Forward Green Leader," one of the top ten environmentally progressive companies recognized by the Sierra Club and its investment advisor, Forward Management.