A few days ago, we published a poll asking you which companies you thought were the most environmentally friendly. Some companies are more boisterous about their impact on our planet than others are, so we wanted to get an idea from our readers about which ones stick out as Earth-friendly champions.
Now that Earth Day 2020 is here, we want to look at the results of that poll and see how your votes match up to reality.
We're starting with the top three companies/brands we talk about most often here on AC, and after that, we'll dive into the other ones and see how they compare.
Google/Alphabet came in at second place with 19.7% of the votes, and that lines up quite accurately with what the company actually does to help preserve the resources of our planet.
Google has an entire website dedicated to its sustainability efforts, and it paints a pretty clear picture of Google being a company that's making considerable efforts to keep Earth happy and healthy.
In 2018, Google matched 100% of its entire electricity consumption with investments in renewable energy to offset that use. Google's also an advocate of the "circular economy," which is the idea that products can be used over and over again rather than being used once and then thrown out. There are a few key data points backing this up, including:
- 22% of components used for machine upgrades in 2016 were refurbished
- 36% of servers used by Google in 2016 were remanufactured
- Google saw a landfill diversion rate of 86% for global data centers in 2016
Those numbers all come from that sustainability website mentioned above, and unfortunately, those data points are a bit outdated, seeing as how we're now in 2020. That said, Google does have its 2019 Environmental Report shared on a separate site with more recent info.
Looking at that report, some highlights include:
- Google data centers are (on average) twice as energy efficient as a "typical enterprise data center"
- All Google Cloud products are 100% carbon neutral
- 19% of components used for server upgrades in 2018 were refurbished
- 3.5 million components were resold to be used by other organizations
That focus even trickles down to some of Google's hardware products, with the Nest Thermostat E, Google Home, and Chromecast featuring 25% - 75% post-consumer recycled plastics for their construction. There's also the more recent Nest Mini, which is made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles.
Shifting over to Samsung, it was much further down the list at fifth place, with 9.74% of user votes. Samsung doesn't talk about its environmentally-friendly efforts as much as Google does, but action is definitely being taken in this regard.
Samsung operates with the slogan "PlanetFirst," which is described as follows:
Our slogan incorporates Samsung Electronics' determination and action to put Earth and the environment. Samsung Electronics laid the foundations for Eco-management as a philosophy for the 21st century in the Samsung Environmental Declaration in 1992. Since then, we have gone beyond mere passive adherence to environmental regulations and laws. We have put Eco-management into action, offering our customers eco-friendly solutions and leading the way to a sustainable future. A healthy environment is essential to our future.
Samsung has a few major goals it hopes to achieve in 2020 as part of its Green Management initiative, such as reducing its greenhouse gas productions, GHG emissions, and water usage.
In 2004, Samsung adopted its Eco-design Process, which "analyzes a product's potential environmental impact." The Galaxy S10, for example, features 37% bio materials for the front deco part, 20% reusable paper for the charging case, and 70% reusable paper for the box it ships in.
Motorola came in at ninth place with just 2.38% of the votes, and while the company is taking some strides to reduce its impact on our planet, they don't seem to be as intense or focused as Google or Samsung — at least not from a public-facing point of view.
There is an environmental impact section of the Motorola website, but it's clear that some of the information is quite outdated.
Looking at the section about Motorola's commitment to recycling, it references goals Motorola set to achieve "by 2015." For example, the company aimed to create its phones with housings made out of 25% recycled plastic by 2015.
As for Motorola's efforts to supporting our climate, the website redirects you to a page for its parent company, Lenovo. Browsing through Lenovo's 2018/19 Sustainability Report:
- 92% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to 2009/2010
- Reduced use of plastic film by nine tons thanks to new packaging innovations
- Achieve 30 MW of renewable energy capacity by 2020
Moving over to other companies outside of the Android space, we have to talk about Apple. Apple earned 23.81% of all votes in our poll, giving it the first place spot. This is a company that's very upfront with its sustainability efforts, and the effect of that publicity is seen from these poll results.
Outside of talking about its environmental efforts at every press conference/launch event, the proof is in the pudding with Apple. The enclosures for the new MacBook Air and Mac Mini are made out of 100% recycled aluminum. When it comes to the iPhone, the solder and main logic board are constructed out of 100% recycled tin.
40+ components used in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and XR feature recycled plastic, and right down to the packaging, 100% of the wood fiber comes from responsibly managed forests or recycled sources. Thanks to all of these efforts, Apple touted that it saved nearly 29,000 metric tons of tin in 2019 alone.
Tesla is another company that scored high in our poll, getting 17.97% of the votes for a snug third place. This one is kind of obvious, as the big draw to Tesla is its electric cars and solar energy solutions.
Microsoft also did quite well in our poll, getting 14.5% of user votes to secure itself in fourth place. Microsoft touts that it's been carbon neutral since as far back as 2012, with the company now aiming to be carbon negative by 2030. Microsoft is also pledging to "permanently protect and restore more land than we use by 2025."
Do these results surprise you?
Looking at the poll results and what these companies are actually doing for their environmental impact efforts, does anything here surprise you? Let us know in the comments below and have a fantastic Earth Day!
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