Apple Refuses To Take Part In UK's First Green Cell Phone Ranking System

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Photo by Gonzalo Baeza Hernández via Flickr Creative Commons

The UK has started up its own green ranking system for mobile handsets, but Apple wants no part of it. The company has refused to allow the iPhone to be included in the system by O2, but its reasons for declining the opportunity aren't exactly clear. According to the Guardian, O2's ranking scheme will include 93% of the mobile phones used by its customers. They use a 63-question survey answered by manufacturers to rank the devices on characteristics from embodied energy to raw materials used to its multipurpose functionality -- Sony Ericsson's Elm ranked number one with a score of 4.3 out of 5, and seven other phones tied for second place.

But Apple doesn't want to take part. A spokesperson from Apple wouldn't clarify the reasons, either, only citing Apple's online environmental reports for its products (which provide very, very limited information about the products life cycle analysis).

Apple doesn't seem to care that green ranking systems by trusted third parties are becoming increasingly more important to consumers who want to know the eco-impact of devices before buying. The article points out how other companies who put environmental reports online are still participating in O2's ranking system, such as Nokia. Apple is going to be left out of the party, which includes other big names such as Sony Ericsson and Samsung. Does the company think it's product is exempt from the trend towards eco-friendly electronics? Since they aren't providing a legitimate reason, we can only assume they either have a huge ego (duh) or something to hide.

"Transparency is always an issue for consumer electronics companies, who claim that providing too much information gives away competitive advantage. But consumers also deserve to know the full story. While Apple has recently made important strides in eliminating toxic chemicals from its products and the reporting of their environmental footprint, it still lags behind others in transparency," said Gary Cook, IT sector analyst for Greenpeace International.

Apple doesn't have the absolute worst track record for green, especially in the past few years as it's worked hard to be on Greenpeace's good side and beat out Dell for greenest computers. But still... this doesn't make the company look very good to eco-minded consumers.

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