Not long ago, Apple was on the front line of keeping up with their competitors at trying to be the greenest electronics company. When Apple became the first electronics company to eliminate PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BRF’s) the world noticed that they were taking steps to become among the most environmentally conscious in their industry. Apple’s recent activity, however, would suggest they are lagging behind their competitors in their commitment to sustainability. Apple is actively opposing two shareholder petitions to embrace sustainability reporting.

Sustainability reports are one of the most important ways businesses can transparently demonstrate their commitment to sustainability. Without them, key stakeholders, including shareholders, customers and suppliers, can’t be sure whether the company can support its sustainability claims.

Michael Muyot, President of CRD Analytics, recently analyzed and compared environmental, social, governance and financial metrics contained in sustainability reports of the leading electronics companies. According to Muyot, IBM is considered a “champion” in environmental and governance because of their unfailing transparency, while HP scored highest in social performance. According to Muyot, “HP boasted a strong social performance score due to robust social policies and above industry average performance on workplace safety and employment creation metrics.” Apple ranked below Dell in all categories.

While Apple has strong financial performance, shareholders and other interested stakeholders, it has a great opportunity to reignite its early commitment to sustainability and at the same time elevate its sustainability performance.

– Ellen Stock.