Steve Jobs sends message to Greenpeace

Apple's biggest name has finally sent a reply to Greenpeace about the environmental leadership (or lack thereof) of the Company. On May 2, Steve Jobs posted his second open letter, this time discussing Apple's environmental policies.

The letter serves as mostly a defense of the company in view of efforts by Greenpeace to use Apple as a lightening rod to attract attention to its cause of more environmentally friendly technology practices.

The letter mainly points out information already disclosed in Apple reports, press releases, and articles by those who support the company, however there are a few interesting new points:

  • "Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of arsenic in all of its displays by the end of 2008"
  • Apple "plans to introduce [their] first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007"
  • "Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of PVC and BFRs in its products by the end of 2008."
  • "All the e-waste we collect in North America is processed in the U.S., and nothing is shipped overseas for disposal"
  • Apple recognizes the need to disclose publicly their environmental stance and progress, and will now do so at least annually

From all of this, it's hard not to take away that the Greenpeace effort has garnered a bit of success in getting Apple to make public statements in areas which were previously not made public. From an environmental perspective, this is a good thing all around. Each high-profile company that expands or expounds on their policies raises the bar for all other organizations in their field and in business in general. For this, Greenpeace must be happy about their result.

However, despite information that should easily change the marks of Apple substantially, the Greenpeace response has been muted. Clearly, some of this is an unwillingness to let go of the best target they've been able to find. Further, their goals aren't achieved, since Apple doesn't meet all of the criteria Greenpeace has set out. The consolation: Greenpeace moves Apple's score from a 2.7 (lowest of the 10 looked at) to a 5 (above LGE, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic.

It's not clear who "won" this round between the two, but I do have to hand it to Greenpeace for targeting a company with a rabid constituency and high profile and getting a result that strengthens their cause.