Apple drops to sixth in Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

Apple’s environmental credentials lost some of their luster in the eyes of watchdog group Greenpeace. The company ranked #6 among consumer electronics firms, a slip in stature largely blamed on lack of transparency. While ranking high in product’s energy efficiency, the gadget maker from California lost points for not providing information on its greenhouse gas emissions that could be externally verified. Apple also received poor marks for not setting a target for lower emissions, the group announced Monday…

Per the group’s review entitled the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics:

Apple continues to lose points for not setting a target to reduce emissions.

While 13 percent of Apple’s facility-related electricity consumption comes from renewable sources, the company could increase its score by setting an ambitious goal for boosting its renewable energy use by 2020.

In another criticism, Greenpeace lauded Apple’s worldwide recycling efforts which surpassed its 2010 goal of 70 percent of sales, but said the company’s efforts at reclaiming e-waste in India was lacking.

Elsewhere, the report placed Apple alongside HP as a “top scorer” for practices concerning “conflict minerals” that help fund armed sides in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, yet faulted the iPad maker for lacking a policy regarding green paper use.

This is not the first time Apple’s environmental record has come under fire.

In October, Newsweek slammed the consumer electronics giant, ranking it 118 among U.S. corporations – a 68-point drop. Like Greenpeace, the publication pointed to Apple’s lack of information regarding its work on reducing greenhouse gases.

Although Greenpeace’s latest report paints a somewhat negative portrait of Apple’s environmental efforts, earlier this year the advocacy group commended the company for its improving stance on energy. In its Clean Energy Index, Greenpeace gave Apple a score of 22.6 percent, up from 15.3 percent in April.

The CEI measures companies’ commitment to using renewable energy over “dirtier” sources, such as coal. This mixed review of Apple’s environmental footprint shows the complex nature of today’s consumer electronics supply chain.

While Apple’s efforts to increase its use of solar and other renewable resources in the U.S., the company is frequently lambasted for suppliers in far-flung regions that may not have such a strict environmental conscious.

This also is why Apple’s production and products often fall on different sides of the “green” scale.

Organizations such as Greenpeace regularly congratulate Apple’s efforts at producing energy-efficient smartphones and tablets, yet in the same breath castigate the company for its manufacturing partners.

What do you think?

Is Apple’s halo of environmentalism tarnished by its suppliers?