How Green is Your iPad?

Is reading ebooks on Apple's iPad really greener than buying paper books? How Green the iPad 2 or the New iPad are? What are the environmental and social impacts of the iPad? What's going on with its supply chain in China? Are conflict minerals part of the manufacturing process? Here you will find links to articles published on our blog and on other publications on these issues.

The links are brought to you in a chronological order. We hope you will find them useful!

You can also find on our website further information on kindle, Nook, best green apps and book apps, and ebooks vs. paper books.


iPad 2 Environmental Reoprt

iPad Environmental Reoprt

Apple Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report

The other side of Apple - Part 2: Pollution Spread through Apple's Supply Chain

How Green is the New iPad - part 6: Carbon footprint, Eco-Libris blog, July 13, 2012

The picture is very clear - the new iPad has a significantly higher carbon footprint comparing to the iPad 2. Other than transportation, where we see some decline in emissions, all the other parts of the life cycle of the iPad have became more carbon intensive.

Apple’s Withdrawal from EPEAT Indicates a Shift Further Away from Sustainability, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, July 12, 2012

Apple has just pulled out of EPEAT, a green consumer electronics rating system. This step means that Apple will no longer submit its products for green certification from EPEAT and that it was pulling its currently certified 39 laptops, desktops and monitors from the registry. It might also mean that as of now Apple’s approach to sustainability should be described as the ‘Gordon Gekko strategy’, focusing only the company's bottom line and ignoring all the rest.

How Green is the New iPad - part 5: Recycling, Eco-Libris blog, July 10, 2012

Apple is static when it comes to recycling and the offer stays the same. We'll have to see if it will manage in the future to provide consumers further incentives and to recycle their iPads. To be fair it's also important to mention that Apple products' recycling rate is 70 percent, which is pretty high comparing to its competitors.

How Green is the New iPad - part 4: Restricted substances, Eco-Libris blog, July 9, 2012

Basically, nothing has changed in the newest version of the iPad when it comes to restricted substances. The text is the same text, which means that no new steps have been taken to improve the new iPad from hazardous substances use standpoint. Bottom line: Apple is static when it comes to restricted substances. We'll have to see if it gets more innovative about it in the next version or maybe this is as good as it gets.

How Green is the New iPad - part 3: Packaging, Eco-Libris blog, July 8, 2012

Nothing has really changed in the packaging. Apple basically provided the same specifications on packaging it provided for the iPad 2. In terms of weight the packaging of the new iPad actually uses more materials and weights more, which also means it has a larger carbon footprint. Bottom line: Apple has failed to make any improvements whatsoever in the packaging of the new iPad. If anything, it only made it heavier.

How Green is the New iPad - part 2: comparing energy efficiency with the iPad 2, Eco-Libris blog, July 6, 2012

When it comes to energy efficiency it looks like the iPad hasn't made any progress. It either moves backwards, using more power (sleep and idle mode) or shows no change at all (power adapter - no load, power adapter efficiency). Is it really important? The answer is yes! Customer use is about 25 percent of the carbon footprint of the iPad, so better energy efficiency generates substantial improvements in the carbon footprint, which unfortunately is not the case here.

How Green is the New iPad - part 1: comparing materials and production footprint to iPad 2, Eco-Libris blog , July 5, 2012

In the next 7 days we're going to explore the carbon footprint of the new iPad, compare it to the carbon footprint of iPad 2 and try to figure out if Apple has made any progress from environmental perspective with its new iPad and what's the new breakeven point between books and ebooks on the iPad. Every day we'll look into another part of the carbon footprint of the new iPad, starting today with production.

Apple's New Coal-Free Data Centers: Great News, Missed Opportunity, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, May 25, 2012

his was a good week for Apple. The company announced that “all three of our data centers will be coal free, which is an industry first for anybody of our size.” However, this could actually have been a great week for Apple if the company took its CSR a little bit more seriously.

5 Reasons Why Apple’s CSR Strategy Doesn’t Work, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, May 18, 2012

Last week in a very interesting article on HBR Blog, Prof. Gregory Unruh of Harvard claimed Apple has a reactive CSR strategy, which he described as the Little Dutch Boy Strategy. In other words, Apple bothers to act only when there’s a complaint or protest against the company, hoping like the little Dutch boy that poking its fingers in the holes in a dyke will stem the flow and let the company go back to concentrate on designing and selling great products.

How greeen is the iPad? - infographic - April 25, 2012

Greenpeace Gives Apple a Valuable Lesson in Stakeholder Engagement, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, April 20, 2012

Poor Apple. It’s only been two weeks since Apple’s Foxconn plant was in the news for worker violations and Apple is again at the focus of allegations of unsustainability – this time from Greenpeace over its reliance on “dirty energy” to power its data centers.

How greeen is the new iPad?, Eco-Libris blog, March 9, 2012

Exactly one year ago (March 9, 2011) I asked the same question about the iPad 2 in an article on TriplePundit entitled 'How Green is the iPad 2?'. I developed there a model based on 3 criteria that was supposed to help figuring out. Here's a reminder of this model: An upgraded device could be valued as a green upgrade if it meets the following three requirements:

Under Pressure, Apple Agrees to an External Audit of its Supply Chain, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, February 16, 2012

If you needed more proof how a protest can make a difference, you got it this week. Two online petitions with 250,000 signatures and dozens of demonstrators in front of Apple stores pressured the company to announce that it asked the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to conduct special voluntary audits of Apple's suppliers, including the Foxconn factories in China.

Occupy Wall Street Goes Virtual, Targeting Apple through Petitions, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, February 3, 2012

Apple, a company that has fans like no other company, is facing now a public uproar with two petitions against the company that have managed to collect more than 200,000 signatures in just couple of days. The first, on calls Apple to “protect workers making iPhones in Chinese factories,” and the second, on SumOfUs, asks the company to “make the iPhone 5 ethically.” This new wave of online activism brings up the question: Is the OWS movement after Apple?

How green is your iPad? Update 1: Apple introduces the iPad Textbooks, Eco-Libris blog, January 19, 2012

Apple said, according to Mashable , that the iBooks store's new textbook category will eventually include “every subject, every grade level, for every student.”For now, however, Apple is starting with high school textbooks from partners McGraw-Hill, Pearson and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

This American Life Presents a Journey to the Harsh Reality Behind Apple Products, Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, January 17, 2012

I’m not sure if Steve Jobs was a fan of This American Life, the award-winning critically acclaimed radio program, but I bet that if he was still alive, he wouldn’t be too happy about last week’s show. It was dedicated to Mike Daisey’s show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” and his journey to China to learn more about the people who make all his beloved Apple products

Apple is first technology company to join Fair Labor Association, Sam Oliver, Apple Insider, January 13, 2012

The Fair Labor Association announced on Friday that Apple is now a participating member, making it the first technology company to earn that distinction. By joining the FLA, Apple agrees to have the association independently assess facilities in its supply chain and report detailed findings on the association's website. Apple also agrees to uphold the FLA Workplace Code of Conduct throughout its supply chains, and commit to the association's Principles of Fair Labor and Responsible Sourcing.

This American Life: Mr. Daisey and the Apple Factory, Chicago Public Media and Ira Glass, January 6, 2012

Greenpeace: Apple Is Less Green Friendly Than Dell, HP and Nokia, Killian Bell, Cult of Mac, November 9, 2011

Apple takes pride in making its products environmentally friendly. It has worked to reduce its carbon footprint by keeping its product packaging to a minimum, removing toxic materials from its entire product line, making its devices more energy efficient and lots more. However, the company isn’t the greenest of tech companies. It ranks fourth in Greenpeace’s “Guide to Greener Electronics,” with HP, Dell, and Nokia leading the way.

Is Tim Cook's Apple Going To Stop Poisoning China?, Ariel Schwartz, Co.Exist, November 2011

Before Tim Cook became Apple's CEO, his job was to make sure that all the moving pieces of the company's mssive supply chain functioned smoothly, efficiently, and in the shadows. Apple's supply chain is notoriously opaque, and for good reason; the company thrives on rumors about its next big products, but all that mystique could be taken away if its supply chain was exposed.

Apple Expands Stakeholder Engagement to Chinese Environmental Groups, Raz Godelnik , Triple Pundit, October 2, 2011

Yes, even Apple, a company that is not well-known for listening to NGOs, has held talks last month with Chinese environmental groups, after these groups accused some of the company's suppliers in China of various environmental violations.

Why Apple Should Make the iPad Solar Powered, Raz Godelnik , Triple Pundit, September 15, 2011

There are already rumors that Apple's third generation of the iPad (iPad 3), might be released by Thanksgiving or next year. Alongside these rumors is the great guessing game about new features. Here's one feature that would have environmentalists drooling: solar powered charging. It might not be as unlikely as you think.

The Dark Side of Apple's Supply Chain, Bill DiBenedetto, Triple Pundit, September 6, 2011

As surprising as it may seem (or not) there are problems with Apple's suppliers in China, namely that many are not exactly environmentally friendly citizens. A coalition of environmental organizations cited “pollution and poisoning” problems in Apple's China supply chain in two reports on the “Other Side of Apple.”

7 Ways Tim Cook Could Make Apple Better Than Ever, Jaymi Heimbuch, Treehugger, August 29, 2011

1. Eliminate Conflict Minerals from the Supply Stream. Apple has had a relatively weak stance on avoiding conflict minerals from their supply chain. Conflict minerals are those mined in areas where the profits go to fuel war, rape, and genocide -- most notably in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Apple factories accused of exploiting Chinese workers, Gethin Chamberlain,, April 30, 2011

The spate of suicides made headlines around the world. Last May, seven young Chinese workers producing Apple iPads for consumers across the globe took their own lives, prompting an investigation into working conditions at the Foxconn factory in Shenzhen, southern China.

Will iPads kindle a massive carbon footprint?, Leon Kaye ,, April 13, 2011

Switching to the iPad will lead to a future where we all live with less stuff. But how will this balance against its negative effects on the environment?

Is Reading on Your iPad More Green Than Paper Books?, Darrell Etherington, GigaOm, April 8, 2011

Many people use the iPad to replace a physical library of paper books, mostly because it's very convenient to do so. But is it also better for the environment? A recent report considers the ecological impact of e-books in general, and specifically addresses the iPad's impact, too.

Apple Finds the Environmental Benefit in Aluminum - Environmental Leader, March 28, 2011

Apple’s use of aluminum cases has made a significant contribution to the company’s environmental efforts, helping it to far surpass its recycling goals, the Apple Insider reports.. Apple introduced its aluminum PowerBook G4 in 2003, and followed this with aluminum unibody enclosures for the MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro, Apple Insider said. Aluminum is used in versions of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, and Apple recently said that the aluminum casing of the new iPad 2 is “highly desired by recyclers”.

Comparing between the iPad and the iPad 2 from a green perspective: - Eco-Libris, March 19, 2011

Today, in the second part of our analysis, we try to find out what the real "green" differences between the two models of the iPad are. We'll look at each of the components of the life cycle analysis that Apple did to determine the carbon footprint of the iPad and the iPad 2 - production, transport, customer use and recycling. We'll also look into other specifications that Apple emphasizes on its report.

Apple reduced the iPad 2 carbon footprint in 20 percent - Eco-Libris, March 15, 2011

Last week the environmental report of the iPad 2, where we learned that its carbon footprint is 105 kg CO2e, a reduction of 19.2% comparing to the footprint of the first model. Comparing between the carbon footprints of iPad 2 and paper books gives us the following breakeven point: iPad 2 = 14.1 paper books.

How Green is the iPad 2? - Raz Godelnik, Triple Pundit, March 9, 2011

Last week Apple unveiled the iPad 2, which immediately became the center of a heated debate. No, I'm not talking about how amazing or totally disappointing its specs are; the debate centered around how green the iPad 2 really is. Some argue that this version is thinner and lighter and therefore it's not only a better iPad but also a greener one, while others replied that no matter how advanced the iPad 2 is, an upgrade of a device launched less than a year ago cannot be considered green.

Apple iPad 2 Comes In Black and White, But Not Green - Jaymi Heimbuch, Treehugger, March 3, 2011

If there were ever a gadget that emits a haloed "Planned Obsolescence" in bright neon letters, it's the iPad. The latest version announced this week now is 33% thinner, has a front facing camera for FaceTime, has a roughly 2-hour longer battery life... and is released such a short time after the first version that all consumers are left with the question, "Apple, why didn't you just do this with the last version since you obviously could have?"

Apple Unveils Thinner, Lighter iPad 2 – But is it Green? - Diane Pham and Mike Chino, Inhabitat, March 2, 2011

Since its release almost a year ago, the iPad has spurred a technological revolution in the realm of personal gadgets. Today Apple unveiled its hotly anticipated iPad 2, which is 33% thinner, lighter, boast a longer battery life, better graphics, a faster cpu, front and rear facing (720p recording), cameras as well as a HDMI output. It sounds like they've made some notable improvements, but ultimately how much greener will the iPad 2 be?

How to recycle your iPad 1 after you buy an iPad 2 - John Platt, Mother Nature Network, March 2, 2011

But with the iPad 2 on the way, and Apple already clearing stock and ending retailer reorders of the original, what's going to happen to all of those iPads already out in the wild? Best-case scenario: the first-generation iPads will make their way to new owners, or be recycled. Worst case-scenario: they'll end up in the garbage where they will pollute landfills for years to come.

Workers Sickened at Apple Supplier in China - David Barboza, New York Times, February 23, 2011

Last week, when Apple released its annual review of labor conditions at its global suppliers, one startling revelation stood out: 137 workers at a factory here had been seriously injured by a toxic chemical used in making the signature slick glass screens of the iPhone.

Apple Says Foxconn's Actions on Suicides Saved Further Lives - Tim Culpan, Businessweek, February 14, 2011

Apple Inc., whose supplier Foxconn Technology Group was hit by a series of employee suicides last year, said a quick response by the Taiwanese assembler helped prevent further deaths. Apple commissioned a review by a team of suicide-prevention experts after the worker deaths, and in August presented its findings to senior executives from both companies, including Foxconn founder and Chairman Terry Gou, according to Apple's annual Supplier Responsibility report.

The Other Side of Apple (and not the one you're gonna like..) - Eco-Libris blog, January 21, 2011

This is the title of a report released yesterday by the Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs (IPE), an independent Beijing-based non-profit organization. In the report, Apple is accused of "ignoring hazardous and unhealthy conditions at the factories in China where its components are assembled."

How the Dodd-Frank Bill will make sure there are no conflict minerals in Apple's iPad? - Eco-Libris blog, January 11, 2011

That's a question I'm asking myself since the Dodd-Frank Bill Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law last July, as it included a provision that was specifically addressing conflict minerals from the Democratic Republic of Congo, which might be used in the manufacturing process of the iPad (as well as other e-readers and tablet computers).

Is the iPad manufactured at a modern sweatshop? - Eco-Libris blog, December 19, 2010

It depends who you're asking and what's your definition of modern sweatshop. last Monday I heard Frederik Balfour, who wrote a lengthy story about Foxconn for Bloomberg Business Week earlier this year, on NPR. He was talking with Melissa Block on 'All Things Considered'.

How Green is My iPad? - Daniel Goleman and Gregory Norris, New York Times, August 22, 2010

With e-readers like Apple’s new iPad and Amazon’s Kindle touting their vast libraries of digital titles, some bookworms are bound to wonder if tomes-on-paper will one day become quaint relics. But the question also arises, which is more environmentally friendly: an e-reader or an old-fashioned book?

How green is my iPad? Analyzing the iPad's environmental report (Part 3- materials) - Eco-Libris blog, June 22, 2010

In the environmental report Apple explains how reducing the iPad's footprint starts with reducing the material footprint: Apple's ultra compact product and packaging designs lead the industry in material efficiency. Reducing the material footprint of a product helps maximize shipping efficiency. It also helps reduce energy consumed during production and material waste generated at the end of the product's life. iPad is made of recyclable materials,such as aluminum and glass.

How green is your iPad? An analysis of the iPad's environmental report (Part 2: recycling) - Eco-Libris blog, June 19, 2010

When it comes to recycling Apple's efforts include three important parts: 1. Apple minimize waste in the first place through "ultra-efficient design and use of highly recyclable materials". 2. Apple "offers and participates in various product take-back and recycling programs in 95 percent of the regions where Apple products are sold." 3. "All products are processed in the country or region in which they are collected." The question of course is whether it's enough to get consumers to actually recycle their iPad once the day when they wouldn't like to use it anymore arrive.

How green is your iPad? Analysis of the iPad's environmental report (Part 1) - Eco-Libris blog, June 18, 2010

Apple provides here for the first time he total lifecycle emissions of an iPad (Wifi and 3G model) 130kg CO2e. The components of the iPad's carbon footprint are detailed in this graph:

Now, when we have Apple's official carbon footprint figure, let's try to compare it to physical books.

How green is the iPad? - The Guardian, May 24, 2010

How does an iPad compare with other computers when it comes to environmental impact? Will I save electricity by using an iPad rather than a laptop? –190 g CO2e.

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