In memory of Steve Jobs and his Green Accomplishments
October 6, 2011 at 5:33 pm
Our family was quite moved last night by the news about Steve Jobs. Co-founder of Apple Inc. and the man behind the first personal computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad and other innovations has died yesterday at 56. This legend leaves behind one transformed industry after another. The world will never forget this visionary genius and all of his innovative creations that have indeed changed the world at large. He is most recognized for pioneering many of the great technology devices people use today. However, we wanted to discuss one of the things many people overlook about Apple’s products: their environmentally conscious approach. In memory of this amazing person, we wanted to highlight the green accomplishments of his revolutionary company and products.
The company finds it important to look at the impact their products have on the planet to accurately measure their environmental footprint. Apple uses a comprehensive cradle-to-grave analysis to determine where their greenhouse gas emissions come from. They add the emissions generated from the manufacturing, transportation, use and recycling of their products as well as the emissions generated by their facilities. An interesting fact is that 98% of Apple’s carbon footprint is directly related to their products. The remaining 2% is related to their facilities.
While many other competitors would focus on the company’s energy efficiency, Steve Jobs thought differently. Apple’s research suggested that the emissions from the manufacturing processes made up only a small slice of the company’s larger environmental impact – a mere 3% in Apple’s case. Far more of the carbon footprint, 53% is generated by Apple’s products. In an interview with Business Week back in 2009, Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook stated “Everyone focuses on whether you have motion detectors in the conference room” so the lights will go off when it’s unattended, but making products cleaner involves real engineering. It’s about innovating, and it’s hard work.”
No PVC or Other Toxic Materials
Kudos to Apple for an intensified effort to eliminate toxic materials. While many tech companies have promised to stop using particular commercial compounds that include bromine and chlorine, Apple four years ago began requiring suppliers to prove that their products included none of these chemicals at all. That required a major investment, says COO Cook, including hiring chemists to help suppliers come up with alternatives. Take PVC, the additive that gives computer cables their flexibility. To avoid using the material inside its products, Apple came up with a “special blend” of polyester.
The company notes that it recycled 33 million tons of gear in 2008. As a percentage of sales, that’s more than twice as much as HP and Dell. Yet most of that is non-Apple products, which tend to be larger and heavier than Apple’s given the popularity of its laptops, iPods, and iPhones.
Meantime, while both Dell and HP had promised to stop using PVC by the end of 2009, both recently said the goal was impossible because of a lack of commercial substitutes. Yet Apple met its target of 2008 for the innards of its devices, and sources say future products will ship with PVC-free power, mouse, and monitor cords.
Apple designs their products to use less material, ship with smaller packaging, be free of toxic substances used by others, and be as energy efficient and recyclable as possible. Their growth continues to outpace that of the rest of the industry, and Apple remains committed to creating products that have the least amount of impact on the environment. Since 2008, as their revenue grew 74 percent, their greenhouse gas emissions grew only 57 percent. Apple is the only company in their industry that can claim that every product they sell not only meets but exceeds the strict energy guidelines of the ENERGY STAR specification.
To learn more about this amazing company’s Environmental Progress, click here.
“We are deeply saddened to announce that Steve Jobs passed away today,” Apple said. “Steve’s brilliance, passion and energy were the source of countless innovations that enrich and improve all of our lives. The world is immeasurably better because of Steve.”
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