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.
More Hardware Insights
- The Critical Importance of High Performance Data Integration for Big Data Analytics
- Website Monitoring: Managing the modern website and protecting your online experience.
- Delivering an Integrated Infrastructure for the Cloud
- Beyond Cost Savings: Four Compelling Reasons to Expand Virtualization of Your IT Environment
- Strategy: Tablet vs. PC Form-Factor Smackdown
- SaaS 2011: Adoption Soars, Yet Deployment Concerns Linger
[ 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.
Cloud Connect is expanding to the Windy City. Join 1,200+ IT professionals at Cloud Connect Chicago, where you will learn how to leverage new cloud technology solutions to increase productivity and improve your business agility. Join us in Chicago, Sept. 10-13. Register today!