How green is my Apple?

Possibly not very, but Climate Counts really doesn't know.

The Macalope
Born of the earth, forged in fire, the Macalope was branded "nonstandard" and "proprietary" by the IT world and considered a freak of nature. Part man, part Mac, and part antelope, the Macalope set forth on a quest to save his beloved platform. Long-eclipsed by his more prodigious cousin, the jackalope (they breed like rabbits, you know), the Macalope's time has come. Apple news and rumormonger extraordinaire, the Macalope provides a uniquely polymorphic approach. Disclosure.
The Macalope
3 min read

Rest easy, dear reader. They've found the major cause of global warming. It's Apple.

Thanks to the perspicacity of Climate Counts (double entendre intended!), we now know that Apple is

A choice to avoid for the climate-conscious consumer. This company is not yet taking meaningful action on climate change.

Now, before we get into this, the Macalope would like to stress that he really has no idea if Apple is bad for the environment.

But, hey, guess what?! Neither does Climate Counts! That's right, for every category where information was not available, Apple was simply given a zero. And in Apple's case, that basically explains the entirety of the low score.

Of course, it's perfectly possible that Apple doesn't give out this information because the secret ingredient in iPhones is ground-up puppies that are rendered in a floating complex in the Indian Ocean that's powered by huge coal furnaces and wood stoves.

It's also possible that these scorecards are cynical attempts to gin up publicity for an environmental concern nobody's ever heard of before that's funded by yogurt pushers (who knows what their insidious agenda might be!) by dinging the famous fruity company that sells that thing that you like. Pillorying Apple may or may not be valid, but it sure does generate a lot of free PR.

Climate Counts says:

The higher the score, the greater the company's commitment to fighting global warming.

Well, that's not exactly right. Click through to Apple's page and you'll see the following ratings.

Review: 0/22 points. Climate Counts found no publicly available information on Apple's efforts to measure its companywide impact on global warming (i.e., its greenhouse gas emissions or climate footprint).

"No publicly available information."

Reduce: 8/56 points. Climate Counts has found that Apple has completed analysis of the impact that many of its products have on global warming while being used by consumers and has engaged with its employees and other companies on climate-related issues.

The horny one was scratching his furry head at the low rating here based on the favorable-sounding text, so he downloaded the detailed Apple scorecard (PDF) and, again, it's all because of the paucity of information.

Policy Stance: 0/10 points. Climate Counts found no public information to suggest that Apple supports public policy that addresses climate change.

"No public information."

Report: 3/12 points. Climate Counts has found that Apple has made some public information available on its efforts to address global warming.

Again, a rating based on the level of information available. The Macalope doesn't know about you, but when he hears Apple is to be avoided for its poor environmental record, he wants to see some pictures of indigenous people being forced to eat old iPod batteries. He doesn't want to see spreadsheet columns full of "information not available".

Apple certainly has a PR problem and it does seem the company is not as concerned about environmental issues as it could or should be. The Macalope makes his home in the woods and high mountain plains where he romps naked, so he's very concerned about the environment and would like to see Apple take whatever steps are possible to make itself a better global citizen.

But Climate Counts' score cards are the kind of thing that would make Edward Tufte go postal. The low score really bears no relation to Apple's environment performance but rather its lack of transparency. There's simply no basis to Climate Counts' assertion that the next best technology company's environmental record is 200% better than Apple's.

Would the Macalope like to see more transparency from Apple on this issue? Absolutely. He'd also like to see Climate Counts be more up front about what its real beef is.