Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Microsoft vs. Apple

This post was written by me about a year ago for Conscious Lifestyle, now Sparkspeed. The websites listed are the sources of the information.

Microsoft and Apple, two enormous multinational corporations, have always been competing to churn out the latest popular products. These rival companies wield tremendous power, with Microsoft at 80,000 employees and an annual revenue of 50 billion dollars, and Apple slowly catching up at 20,000 employees and 25 billion.

Consumers compare the products' designs, aesthetics, models, convenience, adaptability, storage space, and of course, prices. However, what about the eco-friendliness of each corporation?

According to GreenPeace, on a scale from 1 to 10, Apple hovers at a 6.7 and Microsoft is down at the bottom of the scale at a 4.7. The companies are ranked based upon chemicals policy, takeback practices, and recycling.Greenpeace.org

Microsoft scores high on phasing out the harmful substances PVC and BFR by 2010, but earns a 0 for takebacks or providing information to individual customers. In addition, it currently does not have any PVC-free or BFR-free models.

Apple earns full marks for the phasing out of the hazardous chemicals by 2008, and recycling, while receiving mediocre scores for the rest of the categories. The company has set a goal of recycling 30% of its weight of products sold by 2010.

So far, it seems Apple takes the lead. According to its website (Apple), products are refined to maximize efficiency and reduce waste. Of course, consumers appreciate the sleekness of the design as well. Additionally, many all Apple desktop and portable computers have earned the Energy Star rating for energy efficiency. The company has extensive takeback programs that dispose of used software in a safe and environmentally friendly way. In 2006, it recycled 13 million pounds of waste, including paper, foam, and batteries.

Because of its efforts, Apple was named a "Forward Green Leader" by the Sierra Club, meaning it is one of the top ten environmentally progressive companies.

Microsoft has also taken many steps to become a "greener" corporation. In 2005, it began a packing purge of PVC, eliminating 1.5 million pounds of the material. It promoted efforts to slow global warming by joining with the Clinton Foundation and Climate Savers. LOHAS Online

The company is currently developing an interesting program called the Environmentally Sustainable Dashboard. In a nutshell, this dashboard allows smaller companies affiliated with Microsoft to track their direct and indirect energy consumption, and direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions. Microsoft

Apparently, Microsoft even has its own blog for environmental sustainability, called Shades of Blue and Green

Even though Apple is ahead of Microsoft in its takeback policies and energy efficiency, Microsoft has addressed the problem of global warming more than its competitor. Climate Counts Both corporations still have a ways to go. We, the consumers, are really the ones that can have leverage to create more change.

For example, a campaign for "a greener Apple" is being launched at

Yes, we are all individuals, but we are the customers that Apple and Microsoft depend on. Through our voices, we can influence these massive companies to continue to develop sustainable policies.

The image above is from E-Wallpapers.

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