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Inside Green IT

Apple: We're Coming Clean on the True Cost of Green

Plenty of technology and IT vendors tell you they're the greenest companies on the planet. Apple, though, recently updated its Web site to reveal in great detail exactly where its greenhouse emissions come from --- and to provide information about the the environmental impacts of its products.

The Apple and the Environment site is a model that other IT and technology vendors should emulate. Sure, there's more than a dollop of marketing mixed in, but mainly the site provides in-depth information about the environmental impact of the use of Apple's products as well as Apple itself.

The site reveals, for example, that the company is responsible for 10.2 million metric tons of greenhouse emissions. It doesn't try to downplay that, either. For example, it includes in that number the amount of emissions caused by consumers using its products.

Here's the breakdown, from the Apple site, about where the company's emissions come from:

  • Use of Apple products -- 53%
  • Manufacturing -- 38%
  • Transportation -- 5%
  • Facilities -- 3%
  • Recycling -- 1%

The site also shows in what areas Apple has been making environmental improvements. It claims, for example, that the 2009 version of the 10-inch iMac uses 55 percent less materials than the 1998 15-inch iMac. {related_content} One of the best areas of the site is the one that offers individual, detailed environmental reports on Apple products. You get the rundown about greenhouse gas emissions over a products entire lifecycle, power consumption, packaging, materials efficiency, and more. If you're considering buying an Apple product, it's well worth visiting.

Other vendors should follow suit with similar, detailed information. In the ideal world, IT and technology vendors would agree to standardized measurements and methods of presentation, so that you would easily be able to compare the relative greenness of products before you buy.

Don't hold your breath waiting for that to happen; you'll quickly run out of oxygen. Until then, though, take a few minutes to visit the Apple site, even if you're not planning to buy an Apple product. It'll be well worth your time.


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