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NGO attacks Apple's lack of action on climate change

Mac maker's green credentials rotting?

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Apple’s MacBook Air may have received the thumbs-up from Greenpeace, but the iPhone maker should be avoided by the "climate-conscious consumer", a new eco survey claims.

According to non-profit organisation Climate Counts, Apple scored a measly 11 points out of a possible 100 in its latest annual rating of computer companies' climate-change awareness credentials.

It was well behind its competitors: IBM led the pack with a score of 77, ahead of Canon (74) and Toshiba (70). HP and Sony were in joint fifth place, each scoring 68 points. Dell scored 49 per cent. Nokia, the next name up from Apple, scored 26 points more than the Mac maker did, taking its tally to 37.

Still, Apple score nine more points this year than it did in 2007's survey.

And it can look to the likes of Burger King, Pizza Hut, eBay and Amazon.com, all of whom scored less than it did. Just five points each for Amazon and eBay's. The other two scored zero.

Climate Counts calculated its scores by considering 22 criteria, ranging from what efforts a company has made to reduce its impact on the climate, how far it goes to support carbon-reduction legislation, to what information a firm discloses about its work to address climate change.

In short, the organisation claimed, Apple is "not yet taking meaningful action on climate change".

But the issue may be more one of communication than climate change contribution. Much of Climate Count's assessment of each company's eco-performance centres on what the firms say on their websites. Apple's site also has the customary series of pages on its environmental efforts - including a section on reducing the energy consumption of its products - but not off them actually mention the 'C' word.

Instead, they focus on recycling old kit, eliminating harmful substances from products and the manufacturing process, and, as we say, reducing energy consumption.

IBM, buy contrast, has pages and pages of comment on what it's doing about climate change, and as many PDFs and video files as the concerned eco-consumers could possibly want to download.

All this is particularly ironic given the presence of Al 'An Inconvenient Truth' Gore on Apple's board of directors.

It’s not the first time Apple’s been rapped over the knuckles for its green credentials. In November, Greenpeace awarded Apple six points out of a possible ten in a similar ranking of tech firms' eco-efforts.

But Apple did manage to lift that score to 6.7 when Greenpeace assessed the firm again in March this year.

Climate Count’s ranking won’t make good reading for Apple’s Steve Jobs, who in May last year pledged to be more open about the steps it's taking to become more environmentally responsible.

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