June 25, 2024

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Apple’s ‘carbon neutral’ claims come under scrutiny

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Apple faces scrutiny from European environmental and consumer groups over its claims that its latest devices are “carbon neutral”, a term that Brussels proposes to ban in corporate marketing because it is “misleading”.

The iPhone maker last month put its “environmentally friendly” credentials at the centre of its biggest annual product launch. It called some Apple Watch models its “first-ever carbon neutral products”, part of a drive to extend the classification across all its devices by the end of the decade.

But the US tech giant’s decision to rely on credits to cancel out the 7-12kg of greenhouse gas emissions behind each new Watch prompted a sharp reaction from consumer groups in the wake of a long-trailed clampdown by the EU on “greenwashing”.

“Carbon neutral claims are scientifically inaccurate and mislead consumers,” Monique Goyens, the director-general of BEUC, the European consumer organisation, told the Financial Times. “The EU’s recent decision to ban carbon neutral claims will rightly clear the market of such bogus messages, and Apple Watches should be no exception.”

The debate over Apple’s claims highlights the problems facing companies that are trying to follow environmentally sound policies, while seeking to make marketing statements to tout their green credentials.

Apple told the FT its move was “a proof point of one of the boldest climate commitments in industry today”. “To achieve global climate goals, we need immediate action to drastically cut emissions paired with investments in conservation and carbon removal at scale,” it said.

The US group’s efforts as well as its progress on recycling targets and emission cuts are in sharp contrast to, for example, its main rival Samsung, which leaves out key emission details in its 2050 net zero target.

In the days following the Watch launch, Brussels said that by 2026 it would ban “neutrality” claims that are based on the purchase of carbon credits, which…

2023-10-24 00:00:05

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