Greenpeace critics speak louder

October 17, 2008

Apple.comThe buzz-seeking enviro group is losing its voice and credibility as questions about its methods and goals go unanswered.

Greenpeace has published their response to Apple’s recent green product initiatives and, as usual, their point is about making a PR impact; the planet’s somewhere down their list of priorities after buzz and fundraising.

Although the group has positive things to say about Apple this time around, those comments really aren’t of any more importance than their recent criticisms of the company.

The most salient points on the page linked above aren’t raised by Greenpeace at all, but by a comment poster””someone who I assume is just a citizen:

And, how about targeting Dell [Ed””Rated by Greenpeace as more responsible than Apple], who sell eight times as many computers as Apple, each of which lasts only two-thirds as long, and contains 50-100% more materials?

That’s a factual, adding poisons to our planet issue. Why aren’t product longevity and product volume metrics part of the “green” scores that companies are awarded by Greenpeace? Aren’t these factors fundamental to the actual impact companies and their customers have?

See also:
Smear or Slam? Greenpeace Bites Apple,
Top Secret: Greenpeace Report Misleading and Incompetent, Roughly Drafted
Apple tops enviro-friendly study despite previous bad marks, see comments, Ars Technica
Partick Moore (wikipedia)

Or, if that point’s too parochial for you, try this one:

How about making governments improve measurement and policing of unbranded goods which are sold in vast quantities?

And, no, you won’t find any mention of unbranded, house-branded or whitebox electronics on Greenpeace’s website, which means the group effectively doesn’t care about the one-third of all desktops sold in the US that don’t carry a name brand. Though, chances are that you care about such issues.

These questions, and a long list of others, have long gone unanswered and speak directly to the qualitative and quantitative impacts of people’s purchasing decisions, not just one group’s ability to attract attention grabbing headlines.

Are there additional steps Apple and other electronics makers should take to produce and sell their products more responsibly? Of course. But, which is more damaging: one third of the entire US desktop market that goes unscrutinized or the 10% of the market controlled by Apple, which sells responsible products?

Whatever your perspective, it’s extremely difficult to view Greenpeace as an honest, let alone positive, voice for the environment. Cheap publicity at the expense of lasting, practical impact really isn’t the way forward…

What’s your take?

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