Every morning I have a quick browse of the news on Greenpeace and a specific search for news on Greenpeace and Apple to see what's being reported about Green my Apple. Often there's something interesting or amusing but occasionally there's a gem hidden in the assorted articles. This mornings gem comes via Business Week - "Hugging the tree huggers" - that details how many corporations are now working with green groups.
It details some good news from big companies, like investors in the US only agreeing to take over a power company if 8 out of 11 planned dirty coal power plants are scrapped due to the influence of Environmental Defence in the US. It also lists many of our past victories like Coke and greener refrigeration, and McDonalds and Amazon deforestation.
It also deals with the accusation that groups like us lose our bite if we are talking to companies. Well, like it or not, currently big companies can make a huge difference by making often simple changes. For example in the US (with Bush forever in the climate dark ages) it takes investors to scrap polluting coal plants plans and Walmart to attempt to double US sales of energy efficient bulbs.
From here in Amsterdam I'm involved with our Green Guide to Electronics that ranks top companies on their chemicals and recycling policies. We meet and correspond with all the companies regularly, but their resulting scores are not based on behind the scene negotiations or sweet, green whispers across the boardroom table. Only commitments and actions clearly made public to everyone are counted.
The company currently at the bottom of the ranking, Apple, who we are challenging to be a green leader, also got a call from Business Week about Green my Apple. Now Business Week is not just any media call, but seems Apple PR head honcho Steve Dowling could only manage a rather anaemic and petulant "We disagree on their criteria," response. Many blogs have already been questioning Apple's response (or lack of) to Green my Apple, but its surprising that when a publication with the standing of Business Week calls Apple PR can't muster a better response.
While dwindling band of hard nosed 'profit above all else' CEO's among BW readership might still admire Apple's holdout stance (along with the "honest, our chickens don't eat Amazon destroying soya" KFC), the article is another sign that the corporate world is belatedly waking up to the need to be more environmentally aware. Apple risks being increasingly seen as asleep at the green wheel by both its customers and industry peers. Surely that's not an image Apple will let endure for long?
We don't need a hug from Steve, just greener Apple!