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Apple Highlights Environmental Efforts, Counters Greenwashing Charges

Apple has suffered from significant challenges to its reputation for ethics and business practices due to dirty laundry aired during its ongoing legal battles.

But when it comes to CSR and particularly environmental practices, the company seems to be doing fairly well. Today brought this campaign anticipating Earth Day:

As several outlets have noted, it’s not simply a high-budget video documenting internal operations.

The company also redesigned its environmental practices page and took its sustainability report card with Greenpeace from Ds and Fs to nearly all As in only two years. (No, Greenpeace isn’t the most objective source–but that’s still evidence of progress.)

This extensive Wired piece is Apple’s biggest earned media win. The company hired Lisa Jackson, who formerly headed Obama’s EPA, as its VP for environmental initiatives to hype its attempts to move toward using 100% renewable power for its facilities.

While the piece is generally laudatory, it includes some major concessions:

  • “…manufacturing, transport, and use of its actual products, which accounts for 98 percent of its carbon footprint” does not enter the the sustainability equation
  • “Cook emphasizes that there is still work for Apple to do, especially in China…”

So Apple is a long way from being carbon neutral.

The point remains, though: actions are far more valuable than words when it comes to CSR.

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