In light of Steve Jobs stepping down from his former position as CEO of Apple last week, the unique design and innovation that he has provided Apple to contend as a global leader in consumer electronic products must be given praise. In the past few years, Jobs also began assuming a more environmental mindset for the direction of his company.
Decisions to construct a new off-grid corporate headquarters, depart from the Chamber of Commerce who overrules climate change, improve battery-life efficiencies of Apple products, and modifying packaging methods to adopt a greater recycled content are among Jobs’ large-scale moves to label Apple as a leader in environmental consciousness as well.
Because of Apple’s unmatchable influence on consumer-appealing electronics, the demand for their line of laptops, tablets and cell phones is unlikely to slow down anytime soon.
To maintain a reputation as a well-rounded corporate superpower, there is no doubt that competing manufacturers and the public will be assessing the environmental pros and cons of Apple’s most famed personal technologies.
In order to set the standards to the next level as Tim Cook takes over as CEO, here a few of the ‘greening’ measures that people hope will take effect as Apple’s future unfolds:
1) Avoiding conflict minerals in the supply of raw materials. Conflict minerals include any mined material of which mining profits are used by third-world nation suppliers for fighting efforts. In order to surpass this difficult problem in the manufacturing stage, regulations should be instituted before minerals are purchased, such as dealing with suppliers more directly or chemically tracing minerals from the source mine.
2) Recycling precious metals for reuse in future manufacturing. Currently, many electronics manufacturers claim to be abiding by environmental recycling practices through a minor contribution of plastics being recycled for the outer casings of more products. The recycling effort can be greatly enhanced by recollecting copper, aluminum, gold and other common metallic parts of electronics to reuse in future assembly. By funding programs to emphasize the recycling of electronic waste, a vast number of consumers would join the effort of reducing the environmental footprint induced by electronics while giving back to the company used products with components that still retain value.
3) Designing future products for reparability and upgradability. An attractive green alternative to constantly replacing old electronics lies in the ability to fix them yourself. By releasing software that allows consumers to repair their own products from home, Apple will instill a greater trust in consumers for the products they buy by allowing them to technically service it themselves. Since people are commonly sold on items they know will last, if Apple released ‘the best’ possible version of a new product that can adapt to new-found technologies through upgrades, obsolescence and accumulation of old electronic waste will decline.
Apple has already assumed a leading role globally in promoting the newest of engaging consumer electronics, proven undoubtedly by their ranks of being 3rd on the market for PC sales, and 4th for cell phones while leading the way for tablets. To leap ahead of the competition, Apple should take advantage of their ability to develop outstanding technology by incorporating more environmental tactics in the manufacture and life of their products to strengthen the link to consumer’s desires even more.