HP, Apple, and Dell: Who is the Greenest? $HPQ $DELL $AAPL

A quick survey of corporate environmental rankings from sources including Newsweek and Justmeans consistently show Apple behind their tech sector competition.  The 2009 Justmeans rankings put HP at number seven, Dell at number 68, and Apple at number 100 with lower numbers equating to more environmentallyfriendly.  Newsweek put Dell at number one in the United States fortheir 2010 list.  Despite rankings, Apple may be seen as anenvironmentally friendly company.

In 2008 Apple received lots of attention in the media for announcing green initiatives.  The 2008 Wall Street Journal Article "How Green is Apple?" calls attention to the industry-wide concern of voluntary environmental reporting.  The need for consistent and objective rating adds to theimportance of third party rankings.

Since 2008 Apple has announced improvements in their environmental record.  Apple has focused on the removal of materials that affectpersonal and environmental health, including arsenic, brominated flameretardants (BFRs), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC).  Additionally Apple has focused on energy and emissions but not always directly.  One exampleis the reduction of MacBook packaging by 53% between 2006 and 2010. Apple claims that this reduction allows them to ship 80% more boxes in a single airline shipping container.

Apple’s environmental information is presented on their website in a friendly conversational way.  Compare the action Apple took to helpreduce their transportation footprint which, according to Apple, is only 5% of their total environmental footprint.  HP, regarding producttransportation, conversely, states:

"We optimizedistribution networks and convert to lower-energy transport modes whereappropriate, but we do not control shipping operations."

How many people read "where appropriate" as "when cheaper"? HP and Dell both present a massive amount of environmental information on theirwebsites.  Dell triumphantly tells about using bamboo for some of theirpackaging and plans to use more bamboo in the future (spoiler alert: the bamboo information isn’t until page 34).  Frankly, pain and agony arewords that come to mind to describe the feeling of wading through either the Dell or HP information.  Apple presents their information in apolite and engaging fashion.

HP claims it will release the TouchPad, their competition for theiPad, around the end of summer 2011.  Let’s assume for a moment thatHP’s first generation TouchPad will be a worthy competitor for what will probably by then be at least the second generation iPad.  Willenvironmental awareness be the determining factor in your purchase?


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