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Greenpeace: Apple clean energy policies have improved

updated 04:01 pm EDT, Thu July 12, 2012

Activist group still wants Apple to drop coal power

Environmentalist group Greenpeace says that Apple's clean energy policies have improved, but the company still has a long way to go. In a new report, Greenpeace analyzes Apple's efforts to reduce its dependency on coal-power, finding that the iPad maker has yet to lay out a realistic plan to power its iCloud offerings with cleaner energy alternatives. Greenpeace's "Clean Energy Road Map" gave Apple a score of 22.6 percent, up from 15.3 percent in April.

Greenpeace gave Apple grades of D, D, C, and C in energy transparency, infrastructure siting, energy efficiency, and renewable energy sourcing, respectively. In order to improve its grade, the organization recommended that Apple choose a renewable-powered local utility for its Oregon data center instead of buying renewable energy credits. Also, Greenpeace suggested putting pressure on Duke Energy, which supplies power to Apple's North Carolina cloud facility, to eliminate its mountaintop coal removal operations from Apple's electricity supply chain and invest in renewable energy generation.

Apple has claimed that its North Carolina data facility will be run entirely on renewable energy by the end of this year. While giving Apple credit for this development, Greenpeace has steadily put a spotlight on the consumer electronics maker's environmental impact, staging protests at Apple's Cupertino headquarters and blocking trains carrying coal to power Apple cloud facilities.

by MacNN Staff



  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    I'm rapidly losing any respect I ever had for Greenpeace.

    Apple DOES have a detailed plan for renewable power -- the company is spending MILLIONS on fuel cells, solar farms and arranging to get whatever power they can't produce themselves from renewable sources, PLUS doing whatever they can to curtail energy use and make more efficient use of the energy they DO use. That, Greenpeace, is called a PLAN. It will take a little time to execute, but they DO have a plan, they are working the plan, and Apple doesn't make promises it can't keep (unlike some environmental organizations I could name).

    Second, while you wait for Apple's DETAILED PLAN to come into full effect, why don't you run along and analyze, oh I don't know, Google? How are they doing on this front? Or Facebook? Or any of the other numerous tech companies that have massive data centres? Are they doing better than Apple? A little compare-and-contrast (you may remember from sixth grade English) would go a long way here ...

    It seems to me, Greenpeace, that for all the credit you should get for bringing the issue of data-centre pollution to the mainstream, you're picking on your friends and ignoring the worst offenders in the name of trying to grab some free publicity. I think your continued bullying of Apple (and at this point that's exactly what it is, they done everything you've asked and more) is costing you more than its gaining you.

  1. nostrademas

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 02-17-06

    Have to agree with Chas_M. This "update" is an attempt to save face given Apple hasn't announced anything new since Greenpeace's first report, it's just their first report was incredibly poorly researched and written. Like so many organisations, media included, mentioning Apple is guaranteed to get them attention and coverage but in this case getting their facts wrong badly embarrassed them. I'm a member of Greenpeace, and I work in the field of sustainable business so can claim to be reasonably well informed on the technical detail of the issues, but have to say that while Greenpeace is an incredible force for fighting environmental injustice, in this case they just appeared quite naive.

  1. prl99

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: 03-24-09

    The only way Apple could have realistically reduced its dependence on coal-fired electrical production would have been to locate their data center somewhere other than deep inside coal territory. The Pacific Northwest (WA, OR, ID, MT, CO) relies heavily on hydroelectric power with a few coal-fired power plants (mainly east of the Rockies), one nuclear plant, and a large collection of natural gas, wind, and biomass facilities. This is why companies located in this area are rated higher by Greenpeace. Apple went to North Carolina because of cheap land, labor, and large tax breaks. They are trying to be energy self-sufficient, which is probably against the wishes of Duke Energy and NC politicians. Apple can't change the direction of energy production in the US just like the common person can't force big oil to invest in cleaner energy--it would be against the wishes of the investors, which rule everything. Greenpeace can yell all they want but a better use of their energy would be to work within the government and corporations to help steer them in a less fossil fuel direction instead of simply picketing and complaining all the time.

  1. And.reg

    Mac Elite

    Joined: 02-22-04

    Greetings. I am unable to delete my posts, and apparently you moderators are on some kind of a strike.

    Therefore, I have removed the content of the original post by hand.

    I am asking for this post to be deleted, since I don't seem to have the option to do that myself.

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