We here at PhoneDog and you guys and gals alike mainly focus on new mobile tech, when a new device is coming to the market, what specifications it will feature, etc. But seldom do we stop and think about the process behind making those products and what harm these major companies may be doing to our environment. In honor of Earth Day, we're going to take a minute and look into some of the practices of the companies that we love so dearly.
Just in time for the one day we all somewhat care about the earth that we live on, Greenpeace published a report on companies that rely on cloud computing. Each company was evaluated on “coal power use, policy transparency, data center sites and how the companies offset their energy use,” according to Washington Post. Turns out, Apple is leading the pack with the “dirtiest data.”
I'll admit that I didn't take the time to read through the whole report. I just don't have the time and the 36 page document is simply too long for my impeccably short attention span. I did, however, scan through it quickly and stop at the several pretty visuals that Greenpeace graced us with. Along with Apple on Greenpeace's list were Google, HP, Amazon, Microsoft, and others like Facebook and Twitter.
Ranking on cloud computing efficiency isn't exactly related to the eco-friendly (or unfriendly) practices that these companies may or may not partake in during the manufacturing of their mobile products that we so love and enjoy. So I took it upon myself to do a little (and I do mean little) digging.
Unsurprisingly, I found that Apple, Google, Microsoft, and HP have dedicated websites that break down their “green” habits and aim to educate consumers on how each company is doing their darnedest to save Mother Nature. In all honesty, some of these pages look like they were quickly conjured up to get eco-activists off of the big corporations' backs. Are they actually doing enough? What kind of damage are these manufacturers really doing to our environment?
Luckily, Apple broke it down for us with an elementary and (cheesy) green visual (pictured above). Unfortunately, the majority of their environmental footprint gets indirectly pinned on us, the users and abusers. A large part also goes into the manufacturing process. Without anything to quantify these percentages against, it's hard to determine exactly what they mean.
Interestingly enough, after perusing through Apples long list, I found this statement: "Apple’s facilities — including corporate offices, distribution hubs, data centers, and retail stores — account for 3 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions."
If data centers are known for using a ton of energy and releasing CO2 into the atmosphere, and Apple's data centers and other facilites only account for 3 percent of their total greenhouse gas emissions, then what does that say about the 45 percent the manufacturing process accounts for?
I'm no expert – far from it, actually. But it doesn't take rocket appliances (kudos to anyone who knows that reference) to see that the manufacturing process plays a very big part in Apple's and likely every other cell phone manufacturers' environmental footprint.
Whether their pages are convincing or not, it is good to see these companies taking the step towards creating a greener tomorrow. Google, for one, has made a commitment to become a carbon neutral company and has started transitioning to wind and alternate sources of renewable energy. Let's just hope others follow suit and focus more on putting less pollution in our air.
Truth be told, we all should probably take at least one step towards making tomorrow a greener place. According to Apple, we account for a great deal of energy consumption ourselves. I especially take blame for this thanks to my numerous devices that I'm constantly charging – especially my ThunderBolt, which has probably made my power bill jump a few bucks. But I digress. Do your part, plant a tree, and uh...recycle your old phones.