Apple’s pretty products do a good job distracting from the bleak reality of how they’re made. As we’ve learned from the Foxconn debacle, that means sub-standard working conditions. But it’s not just people that are affected, but also the environment.
Built to support iCloud, Apple’s new billion-dollar data centre in Maiden, North Carolina, is another strike against the world’s most valuable company. In fact, the behemoth, which is one of the largest such facilities on the planet, is powered mostly by coal, through Duke Energy. Even though Cupertino is building a solar farm down the road from the data centre, that renewable source only accounts for 10 per cent of its juice.
Apple is one of the worst offenders in the industry when it comes to the use of clean energy. Greenpeace estimates that just 15.3 per cent of Apple’s energy is clean, while 55.1 per cent is powered by coal. That figure makes it the heaviest user of this dirty power out of any other tech company. Google by contrast uses 28.7 per cent coal, with 39.4 per cent of its energy classified as clean, and for Facebook, those figures are 39.4 per cent and 36.4 per cent, respectively.
Apple has obviously reached astronomical levels of profitability and success, so it can afford to clean up its act when it comes to energy. And for our sake, let’s hope it does. [Mother Jones]