Thursday, 14 January 2010

Apple rejects green disclosure

Apple Apple may have made progress in Greenpeace’s rankings (see Greenpeace – latest green electronics guide) but the company is still inexplicably resisting publishing its overall GHG emissions and targets.

Thanks to the US EE Times on Tuesday for pointing out that the company is opposing calls from shareholder groups to increase the company's environmental efforts.  The resolutions will be voted on at the company's stockholder meeting in February 25th.

The proxy statement for the meeting lists the resolutions, one of which, from As You Sow, an organisation that looks to increase corporate accountability and is acting on behalf of a group of shareholders, calls for the publication of a sustainability report.  The report should “.. describe corporate strategies regarding climate change, specifically to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address other environmental and social impacts such as toxics, recycling and employee and product safety”.

Apple opposes the resolution (as it does another resolution asking for a Board Committee on Sustainability to be set up).

The Company points out that it does do a lot around sustainability and publishes detailed information.  It concludes that “the level of transparency far exceeds that of other companies in the industry. The Company is already substantially fulfilling—and in many respects exceeding—the request for information in Proposal No. 6”.

But, as far as I’m aware, nowhere does the company give its overall emissions figure and targets for reduction.  In the latest CDP response (2009), for example, the company coyly says that ‘Apple has reduction targets, although it is generally not our policy to trumpet our plans for the future’.

It is a very odd stance and differs from all other major IT suppliers.  Let’s face it, Apple has made it’s name from being different from the rest, but in this case it must be damaging both the company and the green ICT efforts of the industry as a whole.  If the company is serious about addressing climate change why not publish the information requested?

It’s a serious issue because to make sense of green claims we need to have clear and transparent reporting.  Without that there is no realistic way to judge and compare.  And if a company like Apple ducks the issue it opens the door for others to follow.

© The Green IT Review

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