Apple Reverses Its Environmental Position - The UpStream

Apple Reverses Its Environmental Position

posted Saturday Jul 14, 2012 by Scott Ertz

Apple Reverses Its Environmental Position

Last week, it was made public that Apple's design concepts trumped its environmental position. I don't think this came as a huge surprise to anyone, considering Apple has worked pretty hard to incorporate incredibly harmful chemicals in their products that no one else seems to use, and they seal their products so that no one can get into them, including people trying to prevent those chemicals from getting into the water supply.

To Apple's surprise, people were not happy about the decision. Most notable among those upset was the City of San Francisco, who announced the decision that city funds would only be able to be spent on electronics that bear the EPEAT certification. None of this is all that surprising, but what happened this week is. In an uncharacteristic move, Apple decided to reverse its decision, something that would never have happened under Steve Jobs. In fact, Bob Mansfield, Senior vice President of Hardware Engineering, wrote a letter of apology to consumers, explaining that what had happened was a mistake and that Apple would fix it. In contrast, when the iPhone had its antenna problem, Jobs not only didn't apologize, he blamed the other manufacturers.

So, what does Apple have to say about this marketing blunder? Hit the break for more.

In Mansfield's letter he said,

It's important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT...

Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.

So, I guess this was a little more like Jobs that I had first thought. He did seem to blame EPEAT for the decision, not Apple or their design tactics. The boss-man would have been proud of the redirection, but probably not the letter itself. The previously listed products will, again, have the certification of EPEAT, but the newest addition to the lineup, the MacBook Pro with Retina display, will not, as it already does not meet EPEAT's guidelines and it is far too late to change it.

Only time will tell whether or not Apple fully lives up to its new pledge to remain recycling-friendly or if they go back to their old habits of design first, engineer later.

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