Apple Moving Forward

The previous blog revealed that the media play a huge role in how citizens perceive the world and current issues. The media affect how we live our daily lives based on articles they choose to publish and from what angle they choose to address the topics. Numerous articles have exposed how and why Apple is not so green when it comes to disposing its products. By exposing Apple’s bad environmental habits, the media and many environmental organizations were able to change the way Apple makes and disposes of its electronic products in order to better their reputation. How Apple has reacted to much bad publicity in regards to e-waste further provides evidence of the extreme impact that the media have, whether it is on individuals or on huge corporations.

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In Apple’s eyes, its e-waste perception has been such an issue that it was willing to discuss it on its own website. The article that Apple released in 2006 titled A Greener Apple discusses its plans as a company in the future to become greener.

This article appears on Apple’s website and is likely to be propaganda. One also must keep in mind before reading the article that it is about actions that Apple will be taking in regards to making its products more environmental in the future rather than what it is actually doing now, and some of the environmental actions mentioned have been forced on the company by law rather than by its own choice. It is easy for companies to say what they will do in the future. The difficult part is actually implementing the actions. By placing the focus on future actions, Apple makes it hard for a reader to truly know if the company is sincere or whether it is simply trying to temporarily clear its name.

From the opening of the article, Apple claims that it has “…been criticized by some environmental organizations for not being a leader in removing toxic chemicals from its new products…” According to The Economist article discussed in the prior blog, at the time this article was written Apple was not only not a leader in removing toxic chemicals but in the bottom four of electronic manufacturers in eliminating toxic waste and taking-back and recycling materials.  Failing to mention how poorly it ranked compared to competitors in regards to contributing to e-waste should be an automatic red flag to consumers who are informed on the technological waste issue.

Many consumers are not informed and would not recognize this hypocrisy on Apple’s part. The lack of scientific and technological knowledge among consumers is a huge problem in regard to how much consumers understand reporting in the media. Apple does a fairly good job in this article to help the average reader understand the environmental issues related to its products. It explains terms like LCD, DecaBDE, and CRT to better give the readers an understanding of what they are, why these items are an issue, and what Apple can do to help make these items greener in its products.

However, when going into detail about the issues with its products and what it can do to help, Apple reveals that it is a company and needs to market itself and maintain the reputation of its brand name. Apple shows that it is concerned with the idea of maintaining a good brand image through comparing itself through time and currently to other companies. It even says, “By 2010, Apple may be recycling significantly more than either Dell or HP as a percentage of past sales weight”(A Greener Apple). Like this prediction, many of the comparisons made throughout this article may be based off solid information, but they are still simply predictions and need to be read with doubt in mind.

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Because a reader should leave this article having doubt about how much Apple really is doing to become greener, one should read into how green Apple is in more recent times, and see if its goals, or work towards its goals, have actually been met. The awareness of e-waste among consumers has only grown with time, and knowing this Apple has continuously put effort in to making itself greener, or at least appear that it is attempting to be.

Apple released another article on its website in regards to e-waste titled The Story Behind Apple’s Environmental Footprint that differs from the one released four years earlier. In this article Apple more extensively examines, shows and discusses its total carbon footprint, manufacturing, transportation, product use, recycling, and facilities. Within these categories it breaks down how much it is impacting the environment and what it has done or is doing to help to reduce its carbon footprint in these areas. When reading this article, readers still need to keep the same possible bias in mind; however, this article differs in that it actually shows how harmful Apple has been, which is a hard thing to do for a company and one must give Apple credit for this risky move.

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Even though it is great that Apple has released this information, there are always going to be issues of agenda setting when the company itself is releasing the information. In this case one major issue is the graphical depictions as a device for comparisons. Many of them make it appear that Apple products do hurt the environment but that they are not the only thing that is contributing to e-waste and there are other common products that consumers use, like light bulbs, that are worse. So Apple attempts to further improve its image by bringing into question other companies’ products.

Also this article is similar to the one released in 2006 in that it indeed goes into great detail about the moves that Apple has been making to become more green, but it also still talks about what things that it can do and makes future projections in regards to being recycling, which are once again simply estimates and not raw data.

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Examining these two reports published on Apple’s website shows consumers the drastic changes that Apple has been making in order to become greener. Further Apple also help to set an example and to give hope to making technology greener and show how far the media’s creation of awareness can go.

The media often get a bad rap for how and what they report. However, in the case of e-waste and Apple, bringing awareness of the effect that Apple has on the environment has helped to change the way Apple does business across many fields and will hopefully only continue to help prevent the impact that technology has on the environment.

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One response to this post.

  1. I enjoyed your article. I have heard that Apple’s products were not all that environmentally friendly. I did not know that Apple was taking steps, or at least talking about taking steps, to reduce its carbon footprint. I think you presented the information well and provided relevant images and graphics. Your links further support your post. I think this was a well researched and well presented post.

    Reply

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