Apple Bottoms Out Another Climate Survey

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Climate Counts is nonprofit organization funded by Stonyfield Farm, Inc., to raise awareness of climate change issues. The group has recently launched a “scorecard” initiative which rates well known companies and brands based on their self-reported actions on climate change issues, including whether the companies have taken steps to reduce their impact on global warming, measured their overall climatic footprint, and disclosed their climate actions. The idea is to let consumers make climate-informed choices about what companies they support with their purchases of food, electronics, media, clothing, household products, and more.

For technology enthusiasts, the scorecard contains some surprising entries, giving companies like Microsoft, Yahoo, IBM, Canon, Sony, and HP good marks for their efforts. But rounding out the bottom of the list are a few names which won’t make some tech fans happy, including eBay,, and media darling Apple.

In the Climate Counts scorecard, higher scores are better. Yahoo and Microsoft scored 36 and 31 respectively, getting points for studying thheir impact and establishing climate-friendly goals. Tech giants Canon, IBM, Toshiba, and Motorola did much better, however, earning scores of 77, 79 66 and 60, respectively for their efforts to reduce energy use and impact on global warming, as well as disclose information about its efforts. In contrast, Apple scored a mere 2 points for beginning to review its overall impact. Climate Counts found no information to suggest Apple supports climate-friendly public policy, discloses its climate stance, or measures its overall impact on global warming.

This is not the first time Apple has come under fire for its public stance on environmental issues. Although the company says it has always made efforts to reduce its impact on the environment—and, indeed, was among the first to reduce waste in packaging and introduce e-waste recycling efforts—the company has been repeatedly slammed by environmental group Greenpeace for failing to take public stances on environmental issues and disclose its efforts. Apple CEO Steve Jobs eventually fired back, penning an open letter outlining a plan for a “greener” Apple, in which he claimed Apple is actually ahead of most technology companies on environmental issues, and has been focusing on implementing changes rather than making lofty policy statements and public promises. Climate Counts’ scorecard would seem to be vulnerable to the same criticisms as Greenpeace’s studies, crediting companies for promises and public statements on environmental topics rather than actually measuring the companies’ activities.

Climate Counts currently rates 56 companies. For the curious, Climate Control’s best score (77) actually went to Canon, with Nike (73), Unilever (71), IBM (70), Toshiba (66), Stonyfield Farm (63), and General Electric (61) all scoring over 60. Scoring 10 and below: Time Warner, Viacom, CBS, Clorox, Con Agra, Sara Lee, Limited Brands, VF Corporation, Levi Strauss, Jones Apparel, and a selection of fast food giants: Yum Brands, Burger King, Darden Restaurants, and Wendy’s.

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