Apple, which once suffered bruising allegations of having a poor environmental track record, continues to prove itself a model eco-steward among high-tech companies, most recently by quitting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over the group's stance on global warming.
Apple's resignation comes shortly after the group called for a public hearing on the scientific evidence for man-made climate change, a response to a proposed EPA plan that would allow the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Likely interpreting the Chamber's request as a stalling tactic, Apple sent a letter of resignation stating that it "supports regulating greenhouse gas [GHG] emissions" and that "it is frustrating to find the Chamber at odds with us in this effort."
[ Industry experts recommend that datacenter operators start preparing now for carbon regulations. | Companies aren't acting quickly enough to reduce carbon emissions, the Carbon Disclosure Project warns. ]
The company's move will certainly draw attention to the struggle between the business world and environmentalists over carbon regulations. Companies -- including those operating large datacenters -- are understandably leery of environmental laws curbing GHG emissions. They may have to invest resources in measuring, reporting, and reducing emissions. They may face a spike in energy costs. They may have to pour money into carbon-cutting measures, such as costly building and equipment upgrades. Moreover, companies fear that carbon regulations will give a competitive edge to business rivals based in countries that don't have similar laws.
At the same time, however, Apple's move draws more attention to its own environmental efforts -- and to the fact a company can flourish while going above and beyond the call of duty to protect the planet and human health. Contrary to past accusations from Greenpeace and investors that the company falls short on the green front, Apple is a leader among tech companies in the environmental realm.