“will be every bit as environmentally responsible as our Maiden data center. At Prineville we have access to enough local renewable energy sources to completely meet the needs of the facility. To achieve that goal, we’re working with two local utilities as well as a number of renewable energy generation providers to purchase wind, hydro, and geothermal power — all from local sources.” Again, this information was already provided by Apple in April: “…it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100% renewable energy.”The third facility is Apple’s data center in Newark, California. Here Apple reports that “earlier this year, we were granted regulatory approval to purchase renewable energy for our Newark, California, data center. We’re in the process of locating and buying enough direct-access clean energy to meet the needs of the facility by February 2013.” Unlike the two other data centers, I couldn’t find here any evidence for earlier plans for this development. This week’s announcement is another example of the failures in Apple’s CSR strategy I wrote about last week. Starting with Apple’s reactive strategy, or the “Little Dutch Boy” strategy, as Prof. Gregory Unruh of Harvard calls it – Apple is clearly providing here a comprehensive ‘coal-free’ strategy only because it was strongly encouraged to do so. The sad thing is that as you could see significant parts of the new announcement were already in the works when Greenpeace released its report, which demonstrated how easily Apple could have created a different course of action. If Apple had, for example, a stakeholder engagement strategy and didn’t have transparency issues, it would have been able to communicate effectively with Greenpeace, explain where it stands, show what it plans to do and come up as one of the ‘good guys’ instead of (heh) a bad apple. But to have a smart CSR strategy you need a strong CSR team, which Apple lacks - the fact that these developments are reported by the company’s CFO says it all. This could have been a great green celebration for Apple in collaboration with Greenpeace. Instead the company missed opportunity and it's been framed by the media mostly as a defeat to Greenpeace demands. If Apple won’t take its CSR strategy more seriously it probably won’t be the last one. Raz Godelnik is the co-founder of Eco-Libris, a green company working to green up the book industry in the digital age. He is an adjunct faculty at the University of Delaware’s Department of Business Administration, CUNY and the New School, teaching courses in green business and new product development.
Raz Godelnik is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Director of the MS in Strategic Design & Management program at Parsons School of Design in New York. Currently, his research projects focus on the impact of the sharing economy on traditional business, the sharing economy and cities’ resilience, the future of design thinking, and the integration of sustainability into Millennials’ lifestyles. Raz is the co-founder of two green startups – Hemper Jeans and Eco-Libris and holds an MBA from Tel Aviv University.