Greenpeace Combats Planned Obsolescence in New Repairability Campaign, iPad and MacBook Score Low

A new campaign by Greenpeace today has rated the repairability of six Apple devices against the smartphone, tablet, and laptop market at large, the purpose of which is to highlight planned obsolescence in the technology industry. Greenpeace partnered with iFixit to assess over forty different devices that debuted between 2015 and 2017, with iFixit's teardown repairability scores serving as the basis for the data.

Apple's products looked at in the campaign included the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, 9.7-inch iPad Pro, iPad (fifth generation), 13-inch MacBook Pro, and 12-inch MacBook (refreshed in 2017). All products were rated in the following categories: battery replaceability, display replaceability, no special tools needed, and spare parts available.


Scoring worst on the list were the two MacBooks, which each got a 1/10, and the two iPads didn't fare much better, both getting 2/10 marks in the campaign. The new iPhone 7 models were much higher, both receiving a 7/10 with positive check marks in display replaceability but red x's in all other categories.

Microsoft had trouble in the ratings as well, with its Surface Pro 5 and Surface Book both rated at 1/10. Conversely, the brands abiding by Greenpeace's repairability mantra included Fairphone, Dell, and HP, which all had products rated at 10/10 on the campaign's scale.

Ultimately, Greenpeace wants to bring awareness to the phenomenon of planned obsolescence, which the company's IT sector analyst, Gary Cook, said "adds to growing stockpiles of e-waste," due to difficult repairability shortening device lifespan. Cook noted that, "improving the repairability of electronic products is technically achievable and brands should be prioritizing this in their product design."
“Electronics take a massive amount of energy, human effort, and natural resources to make,” said iFixit CEO Kyle Wiens. “And yet, manufacturers produce billions more of them every year—while consumers keep them for just a few years before tossing them away. E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world. We should be able to make electronics a more sustainable part of our lives.”
In an environmental report earlier this year, Greenpeace awarded Apple with an "A" rating, calling it the most environmentally friendly technology company in the world, for the third year in a row. That report looked specifically at energy transparency, renewable energy commitment, energy efficiency and mitigation, renewable procurement, and advocacy.


Discuss this article in our forums

Greenpeace Declares Apple ‘Greenest Tech Company’ For Third Year Running

Greenpeace has declared Apple to be the most environmentally friendly technology company in the world for the third year in a row.

The conclusion was reached in the environmental organization's latest report, entitled Clicking Clean: Who is Winning the Race to Build a Green Internet, which awarded Apple a final 'A' grade and a clean energy index score of 83 percent. Facebook and Google also scored 'A' grades, with clean energy index scores of 67 and 56 percent respectively.

Greenpeace apple energy rating
"Thanks to the leadership and advocacy of companies like Apple, Google, Facebook, and Switch, we are seeing the tech industry make major strides toward powering the internet with clean energy," Gary Cook, Greenpeace's senior IT analyst, said in a statement.
The report ranked companies on a range of green credentials, from energy transparency and renewable procurement to energy efficiency and mitigation. Nevada-based telecoms company Switch, which develops data centers, was the only company in its sector to be awarded grade A's across the board, with a 100 percent clean energy index.

According to the report, Apple "played a catalytic role within its IT supply chain, pushing other IT data center and cloud operators who help deliver pieces of Apple's corner of the internet to follow their lead in powering their operations with renewable energy".

Apple, Google, and Facebook pledged in 2012 to commit to 100 percent renewable energy sources. Apple's new Cupertino campus, which is currently under construction, will run entirely on renewable energy, thanks to an estimated 700,000 square feet of solar panels.

Despite the positives in the tech sector, the report highlighted concerns with regards to emerging East Asian internet companies, which lack access to renewables from monopoly utilities in those regions.

"Without key policy changes, the rapid growth of the internet in East Asia will likely be powered by coal and other dirty sources of electricity," the report stated. According to Greenpeace, the north and southeast Asian region is the world's biggest emitter of CO2.


Discuss this article in our forums