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7/12/2012
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Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace

Apple has yet to follow through on commitments to run its data centers using clean power, Greenpeace report says.

In the wake of reports that Apple has elected to stop submitting its products to the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) certification program, the company has come under fire for failing to follow up on commitments to promote clean cloud computing.

Environmental advocacy group Greenpeace, which on Wednesday chided Apple for withdrawing from EPEAT, on Thursday said Apple has been slow to act on its promise to power its data centers with renewable energy and to avoid power generated from coal.

Greenpeace has published a report, "A Clean Energy Road Map for Apple," that follows up on the organization's April "How Clean is Your Cloud?" report.

[ Read about GE's efforts to pilot "next-generation" batteries that run ten times longer at half the size. See iPads In Factories: Early Lessons From GE. ]

According to the report, Apple said in May that its North Carolina data center will be exclusively reliant on renewable power by year's end, and that all three of its major data centers will be coal-free by the end of 2013.

The report shows that Apple has made some improvements: Its "scorecard grades" have improved since April from D to C in the Energy Efficiency/Greenhouse Gas Migration and Renewables/Advocacy categories, and from F to D in the Infrastructure Siting category.

However, its grade for Energy Transparency remains a D. That isn't exactly surprising for a company had relies on secrecy to encourage press coverage. But it's a problem in terms of community engagement on environmental issues.

"Apple certainly has room for improvement in terms of transparency," said Gary Cook, senior policy analyst for Greenpeace International, in a phone interview. "They're very good in providing a narrative that talks about environmental leadership. But they need to provide the detail, to back up their claims."

According to Cook, Apple has been growing very quickly but its environmental commitments have not kept pace. He said that there's no connection between the timing of this followup report and news of Apple's withdrawal from EPEAT, a decision prompted by the company's prioritization of design over repairability and ease of disassembly.

Cook said Apple was making a false choice between design and recyclability. Apple's decision to stop seeking EPEAT certification for its products is "a step backwards from what had previously been quite good environmental leadership," he said. "We need to have these products last longer and be repairable."

But Cook also stressed that Greenpeace isn't singling out Apple, noting that the organization has also pushed Amazon and Microsoft to make their cloud computing operations more environmentally sustainable. "It's about the whole sector," he said.

One of Greenpeace's concerns is that Apple's lack of specificity about its definition of "renewable energy" means that Apple may opt to continue buying coal-derived power from Duke Energy and then buy North Carolina Renewable Energy Credits to be "coal-free" in name only.

In keeping with Greenpeace's view that Apple is insufficiently transparent, Apple did not respond to a request for comment.

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PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/16/2012 | 7:01:10 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
@ melgross: IGm sorry did Apple not remove them from EPEAT last week and then today return their products to the EPEAT list? The answer is YES. Has Apple followed through on their commitments to run their data centers clean? The answer is NO!

Here is what Greenpeace stated exactly
"This new ambition to be 'coal free' is welcome news for the 125 million current iCloud users, and represents a significant improvement in Apple's energy choices, However, many details and questions remain about how Apple will achieve its 100% renewable goal from the public dialogue Greenpeace International has had with the company.Gǥ (cnn)

That is the concern and the facts! Apple being one of the founding fathers of EPEAT and organization dedicated to:
GǣOur vision: A world where the negative environmental and social impacts of electronics are continually reduced and electronic products are designed to accelerate the worldGs transition to sustainabilityGǥ (epeat)

Garbage form Greenpeace? They have openly admitted that their research is based on estimates. Here is what Greenpeace stated:
GǣGreenpeace admits their methodology is based on estimates and works around the lack of data by created their own metric called the Clean Energy Index.Gǥ (cbs)

Thank you for your concern and comments but I know exactly what I am talking about :) I have applauded AppleGs decision to return to EPEAT.

Based upon these facts and the article Apple is not backing up their claims of running data centers clean and have not made progress in the eyes of Greenpeace to achieve these goals.

Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor

Works Cited:
Ghttp://www.epeat.net/who-is-ep... (epeat)
Ghttp://www.cbsnews.com/8301-50... (cbs)
Ghttp://www.cnn.com/2012/07/12/... (cnn)
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2012 | 6:15:46 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
You don't know what you're talking about.
melgross
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melgross,
User Rank: Ninja
7/14/2012 | 5:49:43 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
More garbage from Greenpeace. The article doesn't tackle the errors that Greenpeace makes in its calculations. In fact, they been chided by a nu Ver of observers for either. It knowing the engineering involved, or making errors on purpose as a political stance to get more members.

Now, they're claiming that Apple plant will have a peak draw of 81 MW, down from their last claim of 100 MW. But Apple has released the figures, which show a peak of 20 MW. In addition, the filing papers for backup power and such show a maximum of 41 MW requests.

I've lost rest in Greenpeace decades ago. It would be good if articles like this tell the entire story, and stop using headlines made up to get hits instead of telling the truth.

Perhaps the headline should have been "Greenpeace again mischaracterizes Apple's power requirements for their data center".
Appledystopia
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Appledystopia,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2012 | 10:39:38 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
I wrote a piece on this for my site, Appledystopia. Apple actually fares quite well on the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. They are fourth on the list, but their products are considered more environmentally friendly than the leaders on the list. They fall short, as this story mentions, on the side of process and operations. That said, the decision to exit EPEAT was a mistake. All it did was garner bad publicity. Few consumers really care about environmental friendliness when purchasing anything. I don't think much will come of this. It will just blow over in time...
TC
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TC,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2012 | 8:39:32 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
How Apple runs its business is none of Greenpeace's d&mn business!
PJS880
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PJS880,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/12/2012 | 7:26:16 PM
re: Apple Clean Cloud More Talk Than Walk: Greenpeace
Does it surprise anyone that Apple has removed its products from EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) earlier this week and then pumping themselves up about how they will be using data centers with clean power and not following through. Apple is not at all keeping up with their responsibility, no let me rephrase that, a core value that they used to uphold and now clearly could care less.
Woo-hoo they upped their grade from a GDG to a GCG, now letGs see what all this non-sense puts their score at. In my book Apple gets an GFG for compromising their standards!
Paul Sprague
InformationWeek Contributor
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