It's great that Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) has been exemplary at satisfying its most important constituents -- shareholders and customers -- because, right now, the company doesn't seem to be in the good books of some other industry observers, this time labor activists and environmentalists.
Greenpeace today joined the list of institutions, agencies, and individuals that have been sharply criticizing Apple in recent weeks, but this time the focus of the complaint is on the company's record in the area of environmentally friendly and low-energy footprint products and operation. In a statement today, Greenpeace said it did not include Apple in its latest "Cool IT Leaderboard" report because the company had not demonstrated commitment to helping reduce the impact of its products on the environment.
In its press release, it said further about Apple: "It has not demonstrated leadership or elected to pursue market opportunities to drive IT energy solutions that many of its competitors have, despite record profits and large cash reserves."
Facebook (Nasdaq: FB) is in the same black book, although recent actions taken by the company have improved its image with Greenpeace. The organization noted that Facebook "will be included in next year's Leaderboard" because it "has recently changed its policies and committed to a renewably powered Facebook and announced a partnership with Opower to use the Facebook platform to help its users compare their energy usage."
Essentially, getting a mention on Greenpeace's "Cool IT Leaderboard" requires a willingness by technology companies to leverage their real or presumed power and influence with suppliers to "transform the way we use energy, breaking our dependence on dirty sources of energy," according to the environmental watch organization. That's not all, the top companies on the Greenpeace Leaderboard also demonstrate commitment to the following goal:
By developing technology that allows users to monitor and prevent greenhouse gas emissions from everyday activities, ICT companies can provide society with solutions to phase out fossil fuels and drive the necessary changes needed to mitigate climate change impacts.
Many other technology companies got a ringing endorsement from Greenpeace for actions they've taken over the last years to develop a supply chain responsive to the environment. No. 1 on the overall Leaderboard this year was Google, followed by Cisco, Ericsson, Fujitsu, and Vodafone in that order. Also on the list are Alcatel-Lucent, Sharp, Softbank, IBM, Dell, HP, Microsoft, and Oracle. These companies outperformed because they not only actively introduced clean energy products in their operations but encouraged suppliers to adopt similar policies.
“Technology giants have a real opportunity to use their power and influence to change how we produce and use energy - Google tops the table because it’s putting its money where its mouth is by pumping investment into renewable energy”, said Greenpeace International IT analyst Gary Cook. “The IT sector might like to consider itself forward-thinking, but it is keeping far too quiet while the dirty energy industry continues to exert undue influence on both the political process and financial markets”.