After crunching data mostly from Apple and Greenpeace, Geekaphone created this infographic that lays out some of Apple’s gains in sustainability and some of the places where Apple still falls short. For example, reduced packaging in the newer generation of iPhones has led to a 14-percent reduction in fuel (for shipping), and the iPhone 4 also emits 18 percent less carbon than the iPhone 3G. The original iPhone also contained the toxic chemicals PVC and bromine, which have now been eliminated from the newer iPhone models. Yay.
On the other hand, there was that whole scandal about toxic poisoning of Chinese workers, and Geekaphone notes that 300,000 workers in China earn $10 a day assembling iPhones. In addition, Geekaphone says the iPhone power adapter exceeds global energy-efficiency standards.
Greenpeace (who will be releasing a report on Internet companies and clean power tomorrow at our Green:Net event) downgraded Apple in its most recent Guide to Greener Electronics for not providing public positions on the restriction of certain toxic chemicals from devices, and for not disclosing certain information like how it manages chemicals in its supply chain.
Of note, a few things that weren’t covered in the graphic. Mobile and Internet technologies have a green element in that through dematerialization (replacing physical goods with virtual ones) they can reduce energy consumption. For example, downloading a song on your iPhone emits less carbon emissions than buying an actual CD, either from driving to a brick and mortar store to get it, or by having it delivered to you in the mail. Apple also has a significant energy footprint associated with its cloud-based services, i.e., selling digital media. To learn more about how green Apple’s cloud is come to Green:Net!