Apple: Truly Green or just Greenwashing?

The Green Apple without Blemish?

Green material components, free recycling, and less packaging: The Californian company Apple is promoting its green side. Is this a form of greenwashing or are these changes truly ecologically orientated?
Image of article: The Green Apple without Blemish?
Copyright: Apple, Incl.

Greenpeace: “Apple is the Pioneer of the Cloud Computing Industry”

Apple’s new commercial aims to mark the transition of the company into a new era of environmental consciousness. Emotionally charged images, all related to the topic of man’s responsibility towards nature, strive to communicate Apple’s new green image. Apple is now making use of greener materials in their products and renewable energy sources in all their data centers, with “absolutely no greenhouse gas emissions.” In the commercial, Apple’s products are displayed as being energy efficient, with supporting images to demonstrate this attribute. This form of marketing sheds a whole new light onto Apple’s operations and products. Though Snow White was led to an unfavorable end, upon biting into the succulent red apple, the new green Apple that we see today seems trustworthy, yet equally compelling. This concept of green is often used as a mere marketing tool to present companies as engaged and aware of the environmental impact of their undertakings. However, consumers have started asking questions, and have started to look at what really happens behind the scenes. Thus, brand awareness and price are no longer the only critical aspects that determine the success of a product. According to a certified study “Clicking Green”, conducted by the environmental organization Greenpeace, Apple has become a role model in regards to environmental awareness in the cloud computing industry. 

The green Apple without blemish: truly green or just greenwashed?

Lighter, Thinner, and More Efficient Materials at the Cost of a Shrinking Consumer Crowd?

The commercial, along with Apple’s website, convey a very strong green image. Apple retains its role as the pioneer of the industry, especially as they engage in talks of partial to complete elimination of toxic substances within their products. In addition, suppliers of Apple components are now required to adhere to strict standards, as prescribed by the minimum legal requirements of the area. These measures have helped demonstrate that Apple’s actions speak louder than their words, or in this case, their commercials. When comparing older and more recent models of Apple’s products, it becomes apparent that materials have indeed become lighter, thinner, and more energy efficient. For example, the packaging of the iPhone 5s is 41% smaller than the packaging of the very first iPhone models. The most recent version of the iMac is produced with 68% less materials than the first model. This serves as tangible evidence that resources are being saved, and that attempts are being made to improve CO2 levels on a global scale. Yet when one strips away the façade that the commercial and webpage beautifully paint, one wonders who is really standing behind the development and production of Apple’s products. Migrant workers from China, who have left their families and homes behind, work in Apple’s factories and receive wages without benefits or access to any form of health and education systems. Exploited apprentices and working shifts beyond the legal maximum are considered the norm. No apple is without blemish, and this Apple definitely is not free of flaws. Apple has however been taking the views of consumers into consideration, especially in regards to the company’s approach to working conditions and environmental practices. The current campaigns and changes are said to only be the beginning of Apple’s transformation. For a company to truly be considered green and not just greenwashed, it requires more than a superficial change of the company’s image. True change happens at the core and continues to spread outwards.

15.06.2014 · 09:31 · Author: Annelie Neumann (translated by Nicholas Gregg) · Category: IT
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