You may know Ceres as the Roman goddess of agriculture (aka Demeter in Greece), but turns out she's been busy lending her name to a Boston-based organization called Ceres that links up investors, environmental groups, and other public interest organizations to integrate sustainability into capital markets (their words, of course, not mine—or, I'm guessing, the goddess's).
Last week, Ceres released a ranking of companies based on what they’re doing to combat climate change. The list was topped by the likes of IBM, U.K.-based grocery chain Tesco, and—wait for it—Dell Computer. Apple, unfortunately, was among those bringing up the rear, with a score of 28 on the 100-point scale. While the exact algorithm for determining the scores isn’t published, Ceres’s press release says that it’s based on factors such as “director oversight, management execution, public disclosure, GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions accounting and strategic planning and peformance.” And if you have any idea what all of that means, congratulations: you’ve won a cookie.*
Taking Apple to task on the environment is a popular pastime, especially with organizations like Greenpeace, who recently gave Apple bad marks for its environmental policies. The company has been attempting to improve its environmental image by publicizing information about its practices. But, like the Greenpeace rankings, the Ceres report seems to put an awful lot of emphasis on talk and not so much on action.
In terms of the aforementioned criteria, Apple would certainly seem to be on the right path, given Jobs’s public environmental updates; the new Product Environemntal Reports that list things like greenhouse gas emissions for every product Apple makes; and the Facilities Environmental Reports that break down Apple's production processes. I’m sure there’s always more to do, but it would seem to me that Apple’s making pretty good headway as is.
Then again I don’t have a nifty name like Ceres, so what does my opinion matter, really?
*Look in your cache! Sorry, that's just a little web browser humor for you.