What a difference two years make – Greenpeace gives Apple a huge tick

Madeleine Swain
3 April, 2014
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Apple received a big tick from Greenpeace this week.

The environmental protection organisation has released a new report entitled ‘Clicking Clean: How Companies are Building the Green Internet‘, following its investigations into the ways in which Silicon Valley’s finest power their data centres with renewable energies. Greenpeace proclaimed that Apple was “the most innovative and most aggressive company” in a large field of peers.

The Cupertino, California tech company scored a perfect 100 percent for the Clean Energy Index column on a company scorecard that rated a range of tech companies on factors such as energy transparency, commitment to renewable energy, energy efficiency and mitigation, and renewable energy deployment and advocacy. Apple was awarded As in three of those sectors, with just energy efficiency and mitigation being awarded a B.

For comparison sake, the next highest overall rating was Yahoo!, which scored 59 percent on the Clean Energy Index. The wooden spoon went to eBay, which scraped a measly six percent.

Apple can credit its high score in a major way to the fuel cell installation and solar farm it uses at its data centre in Maiden, North Carolina.

Greenpeace also noted that Apple both talks the talk and walks the walk. It pressures local utilities to offer renewable options and purchases all the electricity it hasn’t generated itself from utilities that use renewable sources.

“Apple has made good on its pledge by building the largest privately owned solar farms at its North Carolina data centre, working with its utility in Nevada to power its upcoming data centre there with solar and geothermal energy, and purchasing wind energy for its Oregon and California data centres,” wrote Greenpeace in the report.

Most significantly, just two years ago, in 2012, Apple scored Ds and Fs in every category, as it was still then relying mostly on fossil fuels for its power.

How things have changed. Of course, being the planet’s most high profile environmental guardian, Greenpeace isn’t totally satisfied. The organisation says there is still some room for improvement, noting that Apple could perhaps do a little more in the area of sharing details on energy efficient facility designs in order to help the rest of the industry reach its levels of environmental friendliness – hence that B on the scorecard.

Apple guarding its secrets zealously. Surely not?

Still, Greenpeace has come to praise Caesar, not bury him. “Apple’s commitment to renewable energy has helped set a new bar for the industry, illustrating in very concrete terms that a 100 percent renewable internet is within its reach, and providing several models of intervention for other companies that want to build a sustainable internet,” concludes the report.


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