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Greenpeace Slams Apple For Environmental Record 271

nandemoari writes "According to a recent advertisement airing on American TV, Apple's new Macbooks (well-received by most technology critics) are 'the world's greenest family of notebooks.' It seems an indication that the Cupertino-based company is increasingly aware of a consumer base that demands green electronics. However, Greenpeace is less than enthused with Apple's overall green performance. In their report (PDF), the environmentalists argue that Apple 'needs to commit to phasing out additional substances with timelines, improve its policy on chemicals and its reporting on chemicals management.'" Ars Technica points out that Greenpeace's research isn't quite up-to-snuff, and it's also worth noting that Greenpeace admitted to targeting Apple for the publicity in the past.
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Greenpeace Slams Apple For Environmental Record

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  • by digitalunity ( 19107 ) <digitalunity&yahoo,com> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:17AM (#25921941) Homepage

    Greenpeace's strategy isn't really bad. Sure, they're picking on a big company for publicity, but whatever effects are the result of greenpeace's research will trickle down into the factory floors of their component suppliers having a much larger effect.

  • Flawed study (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:20AM (#25921959)

    Greenpeace's conclusion on Apple (and Nintendo) is based not on objective studies, but on the fact that neither Apple or Nintendo are releasing information on the manufacturing process to Greenpeace.

    From the Ars Technica article: "[Greenpeace] notes that these ratings are, in part, an attempt to encourage companies to publish verifiable information regarding the use of toxic chemicals in their manufacturing and supply chain."

  • by c_forq ( 924234 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:24AM (#25921987)
    I think it might actually have a kind of opposite effect. By focusing on Apple worse offenders continue on under the radar. In addition it sends a message to the Dells and HPs that "if you advertise your green programs, we will rip you apart for publicity". So as a competing manufacturer, why would you take on expenses to advertise, or even clean up, your manufacturing process?
  • by Timothy Brownawell ( 627747 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:32AM (#25922029) Homepage Journal

    Ars Technica points out that Greenpeace's research isn't quite up-to-snuff [], and it's also worth noting that Greenpeace admitted to targeting Apple for the publicity [] in the past.

    Why was this posted, then?

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:33AM (#25922033)

    Greenpeace--Seriously? They're the PETA of the environmentalist movement. It's like how I feel having Michael Moore on Team Liberal, or Richard Simmons on Team Gay. These people are bordering on terrorist tactics; They have put concrete plugs in industrial exhaust plumes, endangering the plant workers inside and risking explosions. They've put their little boats in front of major ships in international waters, causing trade disruption. Their little protests cause a lot of economic damage, and their so-called "non-violent" stance? Please! There's press you can find online of various groups claiming to act for Greenpeace that have assaulted people. Of course, Greenpeace denies that they were acting for the cause (and they might even be right) -- but this group tends to attract the fringe and the radicals. There's a reason the FBI has them on several watchlists. :\ I mean, the French bombed their flag ship! The French -- you know, white flags France... Yeah, Greenpeace pissed them off enough that the President himself ordered their ship blown up.

    If you're an environmentalist, or a greenie, you DO NOT WANT Greenpeace on your team.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:35AM (#25922053)

    This coming from an organization that has refused to support the growth of nuclear power as a means of providing for our electrical needs. Greenpeace has always struck me as an organization that is more concerned with protesting and grandstanding than doing the dirty work of getting serious, economically viable approaches to environmentalism out there in the spotlight.

    If I were a Greenpeace executive, instead of wasting my time with this crap, I'd order half a dozen Tesla roadsters to serve as company/lobbyist cars and be hitting the road right now to promote companies like Tesla as the alternative to bailing out gas guzzler manufacturers.

  • hey greenpeace (Score:5, Insightful)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:40AM (#25922083) Homepage Journal

    support nuclear power, make an actual difference on the environment

    of course, attacking a minor environmental issue to scare rich people and make them feel guilty about their overpriced toys is better pr i guess

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:49AM (#25922155)

    Does crying wolf sound familiar? If we cannot believe Greenpeace on this, what can we believe them on?

    Eventually they will be ignored - even if they are telling the truth.

  • Greenpeace (Score:2, Insightful)

    by moniker127 ( 1290002 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:50AM (#25922159)
    These people are retards. Wind power is not a replacement for science. Fusion reactors are one of the greatest achievements we could hope to achieve, but they want to say fuck it all, lets build some fans. Well, fuck you, hippies.
  • by m509272 ( 1286764 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:51AM (#25922163)
    Greenpeace = Media Whores There's a million other companies they could be dragging thru the mud but they'll pick the one that will get the most media attention despite Apple's green efforts.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @12:55AM (#25922185)

    How much money does greenpiece want to go away?

    "That's a nice technology company you got there, Steve. It'd be a shame if something bad happened to it"

  • Re:Flawed study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TeacherOfHeroes ( 892498 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:00AM (#25922213)

    As I understand it, these ratings are, in large part, a way to help environmentally conscious consumers buy green products. By not disclosing that information, they make this impossible for consumers to do accurately. Reducing their scores for not cooperating is about the only means they have to pressure the companies into being more consumer-frieldny in this matter. While it may be flawed as a study, it functions correctly as a guide to buying products you know to be environmentally-friendly.

    Think if it a different way: If you showed up for a university exam or a job interview, and refused to disclose what you knew about the subject in question, wouldn't *you* expect to get low marks, too? If you in fact knew a great deal about the subject, you could claim that the exam/interview was a flawed study, but the fact of the matter is that you refused to participate, and in this case you don't get the benefit of the doubt.

  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:00AM (#25922215)

    But you can go to far where your views are considered to radical to be possible. Thus becoming a buch of crazy nuts and go back to your way of doing things, As they will be mad at you no matter what.

    Much like extreme veganism, where you are not supposed to eat anything from a plant where you end up killing the entire plant. Because the rules are so strict very little food service places will try to follow those recommendations if they did it was purely accidental. So they realized they cannot make this group happy without a huge penalty, heck you are lucky if they will have something for normal vegetarians other then boring salads (Which are not full vegan because you need to kill the leafy greens plants for the salad and the roots for the carrots. Leaving Beans, Nuts, and Fruits as the only source for your diet)

    If you want change you need to reward baby steps. You can scold your child for not winning a marathon just as it just learned to stand.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:09AM (#25922243)
    Hasn't that already happened?
  • Re:Flawed study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jlarocco ( 851450 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:15AM (#25922271) Homepage

    The difference is that a university exam or a job interview is something you voluntarily participate in. In this case GreenPeace is demanding information and crying when Apple tells them to get lost.

    Though I do see GreenPeace's point. If you're going to brag about being "green", you should be willing to provide information backing that up.

  • by Moofie ( 22272 ) <lee@ringofsatur n . c om> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:29AM (#25922341) Homepage

    Pursuing a good goal by lying and misleading is not good.

  • by TheMCP ( 121589 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:38AM (#25922377) Homepage

    It's also worth noting that the founder of Greenpeace thinks they're a bunch of kooks. See the Penn & Teller's Bulls*** episode on environmentalism.

    I believe in protecting the environment, but I'd like to sanely focus on serious problems first, and do so in a logical and dignified manner, instead of just attacking companies just because they're prominent and it generates publicity.

  • by pipingguy ( 566974 ) * on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:38AM (#25922379)
    Actually, it appears that Greenpeace is a political organization that plays on people's guilt in order to gain funding. Cute, furry animals that die at the hands of evil humans (whether for food or the neglect of the irresponsible west) obviously deserve more attention than ugly, bothersome ones.

    Their histrionics, hypocracy and irrationality sank them a long time ago, but you'll find the occasional brain-dead celebrity supporting their efforts.
  • by Gojira Shipi-Taro ( 465802 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:39AM (#25922401) Homepage

    Greenpeace are a bunch of attention whores.

    Fuck them.

    That is all.

  • Re:Greenpeace? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jo_ham ( 604554 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @02:20AM (#25922605)

    Indeed, but it does contain quotes from Greenpeace, which I assume are accurate. Whether they are or not is a case for verification - you can ask the people involved (who are named in the article) if they said what was attributed to them.

    And it's exactly this kind of thing that gets me about Greenpeace - Patrick Moore said it exactly: "By the mid-1980s, the environmental movement had abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism," Now, while I don;t believe the entire environmental movement has gone this way, Greenpeace certainly has.

    They have taken this anti-technology stand on practically everything they don't understand - fusion power being one of them.

    Fusion power could be the answer to long term, large scale, clean electricity, and end forever the need to burn coal, oil, LNG or whatever else was once alive millions of years ago and is now flammable to make energy, but they want to stop it because they don't understand it.

  • by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) * on Saturday November 29, 2008 @03:17AM (#25922853) Journal
    You'd think it would cannibalize the competition's product lines, too. And that's usually a desireable thing.
  • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @03:53AM (#25923049)

    Finding solutions is hard. It is easy to point out the bad about something. Part of the reason is because EVERYTHING has a downside. No matter what you do, there's a cost to it. Thus it's easy to figure out what that cost is and say "Oh look at the downside of this! Man that's a bad idea!" Of course it is much harder to weigh the positives and negatives of something, weigh that versus alternatives, and try to figure out what has the least negatives and most positives.

    So instead you get people like Greenpeace that just hate on everything. They'll happily point out the bad in any solution you come up with. They aren't in it to solve problems, they are in it to find problems.

  • by davester666 ( 731373 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @04:19AM (#25923203) Journal

    Actually, I don't think Dell and HP are worried about this. Greenpeace is doing this, not to tear down Apple or to change Apple's behaviour.

    These press releases (which seem to have increased in frequency) are to try boost awareness of Greenpeace. They claim all the credit for any positive changes Apple makes, while constantly changing the goalposts so that most of the time, Apple has a failing grade. They are trying to new young people to be part of their movement by targeting the company that makes the cool products that so many of them like. If Apple could grow completely organic computers, Greenpeace would still find some way to give them a failing grade, just so Greenpeace can say "We're still relevant".

    Greenpeace will NEVER be happy with Apple until Apple goes out of business, and any land they have is returned to farmland.

    I would find Greenpeace more credible if they targeted the worst offenders, instead of just 'popular' companies. So it's about improving the environment, not improving the image of Greenpeace.

  • by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @06:10AM (#25923635)
    Greenpeace is not credible because they are not reasonable. Even some of the founding members have left the organization over the years due to the increasingly extreme nature of their positions. If Greenpeace had its way modern life as we know it would not exist, they even proposed banning all bleach (which is totally crackpot) despite the enormous benefits to mankind from continued use of this and other power disinfectant chemicals. The biggest problem with Greenpeace is Greenpeace itself and until they manage to clean their own house of extreme and uncompromising people they will continue to marginalize and render their own efforts on other more reasonable positions completely ineffective. The other posters are right, the message that other companies will take from this is, "Don't give Greenpeace any credibility by actually speaking to them, no matter what you say or do it will only cost money and be more trouble than it is worth."
  • Re:Flawed study (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Znork ( 31774 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @06:22AM (#25923701)

    1995 according to Apple. And searching on Apple and PVC gives you a nice Apple webpage detailing these things, so it seems that Greenpeace managed to convince Apple to publish the details at least.

    That said, while I certainly don't hold Greenpeace in a particularly high regard, but as far as Apple and environmentalism is concerned, you don't need to go further than the battery replacement issue to draw your own conclusions.

  • Re:Flawed study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by carou ( 88501 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @08:00AM (#25924067) Homepage Journal

    Battery replacement issue?

    You mean, the one where you have to hand your iPod in for service and they replace the battery, ensuring the materials in the old one can be properly recycled - as opposed to selling people new batteries and letting the old ones contribute its toxic elements to landfill?

  • by jcr ( 53032 ) <> on Saturday November 29, 2008 @09:17AM (#25924319) Journal

    I am an environmentalist, green, pro-recycling, green energy, save the planet, save the animals guy, but I want *nothing* to do with Greenpeace whatsoever.

    I would expect any environmentalist with a clue to shun Greenpeace.


  • Simmer Down (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cwmaxson ( 1068504 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @11:15AM (#25924913)
    Typical slashdot, posters arguments have NOTHING to do with the topic at hand (instead reverting to a nuclear power debate). Greenpeace isn't "slamming" apple, just pressuring them. Apple overall received high scores, they just received a few "bad" scores on the use of recycled plastics and renewable energy. Greenpeace was comparing Apple against other producers and basically saying that though Apple tries to sell themselves as uber-green, that they're not always in the lead. This is hardly an extremist point. They were actually praising Apple for some of their achievements, but saying they have more to do. I'm no fan of greenpeace, but the attacks on greenpeace in these responses have not been very legitimate. Such arguments as "I knew a guy that worked for...", and "they're just a bunch of radicals..." are lacking in the depth one would expect from reasonable human beings.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 29, 2008 @11:27AM (#25924991)
    Eating fruits is not impinging on a plant's reproduction as long as you remember to eat the apple core and shit in the woods. Otherwise, the seeds don't end up anywhere they can grow.
  • by Jesus_666 ( 702802 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @01:07PM (#25925729)

    wake up people , nobody has the right to pollute.

    In that cast someone should start some kind of organization that fights pollution. Greenpeace certainly doesn't appear to.

  • Another difference (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @04:26PM (#25927363) Journal
    People voluntarily associate with business as consumers, as employees, and most importantly, as investors. Greenpeace, OTOH, injects its officious nose into businesses uninvited. As an Apple stockholder, I say, go away, who appointed you as my keeper?

    The sad thing about the greenies is that they would be the first to tell the Religious Right, "stay out of my life!" on abortion or gay marriage or sex on TV or the Internet, but they are the first to tell others how to run their lives in a green way, whether anyone asked them or not.
  • by unassimilatible ( 225662 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @04:36PM (#25927431) Journal
    Didn't Slashdot just post an article [] about the horrors of private, unregulated actors taking matters into their own hands?

    Shouldn't the tag "vigilantism" be used with submissions about Greenpeace?

    As I have said before, one person's social activism is another's vigilantism.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Saturday November 29, 2008 @04:51PM (#25927549)

    Reality: it's still a hunk of plastic you chuck in the landfill, and being made by the world's most neurotic computer company, it's more likely to break.

    Poor Apple Haters, living in some fantasy universe where nothing Apple does can satisfy them.

    In real reality, the new Macbook (and Pro) are solid aluminium blocks and there's very little plastic to be found (thus the new claims at being more friendly since they reduced use of many toxic chemicals). Of course being a solid block of metal makes them sturdier and more durable as well...

    And instead of ending up in landfills, Apple takes and
    recycles [] 90% of the materials there.

    But you'd rather see Apple shut down so people can keep buying cheap plastic Dell's with mercury that really do end up landfills. Apple isn't perfect, no one is. But they do try hard and it's not just marketing.

    Like I said, just another Hater filled with an all-consuming desire to bring down something you dislike.

User hostile.