While I was out in San Francisco at MacWorld we stopped by the Apple Store to see the Greenpeace, peaceful demonstration and “greening” of the store. I had expected to see buckets of green paint but instead there were big projectors with green filters and a few people handing out leaflets questioning Apple’s commitment to protecting the environment.
I was very curious about the Greenpeace action because a friend of mine, Jeffrey Hollender of Seventh Generation, sits on their board of directors. At a recent board meeting of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility where I am the chair of the board, Jeffery took me aside and asked me about Apple’s environmental record. I asked him about Greenpeace’s campaign against Apple and pledged to reseach the issue.
Jeffrey put me in touch with Lisa Finaldi from Greenpeace, who was kind enough to direct me to the material from the campaign. I was convinced that Apple was being unfairly targeted because of their high profile. I am not dissuaded of this as of yet, however, the material from Greenpeace at a minimum raises some serious questions about the depth of Apple’s environmental commitment.
Here’s a link to Apple’s environment page, too:
Greenpeace has a long history of pushing the window of environmental protection and I have a lot of respect for their efforts. When they “attacked” my favorite computer manufacturer, I questioned my commitment and feel that the only fair response is to thoroughly investigate their claims and Apple’s record. I’ll be doing that in a series of articles in Kibbles & Bytes this spring.
I’ll go out on a limb (a sturdy one) and state that I’ll bet that I will find that Greenpeace is overstating the case and that Apple is not blowing their own horn enough in demonstrating their commitment to sound environmental policies.
I do think it is time, however, for Apple to hire a corporate responsibility officer as a high-level executive to help the company steer its way through the important responsibilities that Apple has as a leading corporate citizen. I’d like to see Apple make the top list as one of the best US corporate citizens in terms of workplace quality, community involvement and environmental protection.
Small Dog Electronics ascribes to a philosophy of “multiple bottom lines” to measure our success. We feel that how we treat our employees, how we treat our customers, how we treat the environment and what type of corporate citizen we are; are all as important measures of success as how much profit we may make.
Small Dog Electronics launched an eWaste initiative several years ago that continues today. Each year we assure that several tons of eWaste is properly handled. We provide eWaste recycling from each of our facilities and take back any eWaste and do not require a purchase. We also send out pre-paid envelopes with each iPod battery we sell to make sure that the old lithium ion batteries stay out of landfills.
Look for more about this issue in future blog posts and in our newsletters.