Apple: We're 'Greener' Than You Think

Facing increasing criticism over its commitment to the environment, Apple CEO Steve Jobs shot back saying that in many cases the company will soon be ahead -- if not already -- of its competitors.

Jobs pointed out that it is generally not the policy of Apple to talk about its future plans, but he said this policy had left its shareholders, employees, and the industry "in the dark" over its commitment to the environment.

"Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they're right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business," he wrote. "So today we're changing our policy."

Apple has reduced the amount of lead used in its computers by 484 grams in the first iMac to 1 gram today. Other substances such as Cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and decabromodiphenyl ether have been eliminated, bringing it in line with EU standards.

Mercury is slowly being phased out as the company transitions to backlit LED display which are becoming more economically feasible, and the use of arsenic in its displays will be phased out by the end of 2008, Jobs added.

Polyvinyl chloride, found in computer parts and cables, and brominated flame retardants will be phased out by the end of next year as well. In every case, Jobs pointed out it was ahead of the industry.

"In one environmental group's recent scorecard, Dell, HP and Lenovo all scored higher than Apple because of their plans (or "plans for releasing plans" in the case of HP)," Jobs argued. "In reality, Apple is ahead of all of these companies in eliminating toxic chemicals from its products."

Apple's recyling programs are still going strong and the company recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste last year. That was 9.5 percent of the weight of products sold seven years prior, the average product life. The company hopes to increase this percentage to 28 percent by the end of the decade.

Jobs promised regular updates on its progress, as well as new Apple-originated initiatives to promote "greener" practices in the industry.

"Based on our tangible actions and results over time, hopefully our customers, employees, shareholders and professional colleagues will all feel proud of our ongoing efforts to become a greener Apple," he concluded.

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