The greening of Apple Inc.

November 9, 2011, 8:00 AM UTC

Jumps to 4th place in the latest Greenpeace survey of electronics manufacturers

Click to enlarge. Source: Greenpeace

Apple (AAPL) has come a long way in the eyes of the environmental activitsts at Greenpeace since they painted Steve Jobs as a hypocrite for promising “a greener Apple” in May 2007 and delivering an iPhone the next month laced with bromine, chlorine and phthlates.

In its annual Guide to Greener Electronics that year, Apple came in 11th place, barely ahead the dirtiest company surveyed, Panasonic.

In the 2011 edition of the Guide, released Wednesday, Apple has moved all the way to 4th place, behind only Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Dell (DELL) and Nokia (NOK).

Data: Greenpeace. Chart: PED

Investors might add that Apple’s revenues and profits are growing considerably faster than any of the other companies on the list, green or otherwise.

The Greenpeace report praises Apple for its global recycling program, its sourcing of conflict minerals, the removal from its products of PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants and for meeting or exceeding Energy Star requirements.

The company loses points for not setting a target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and for not mentioning plans to phase out antimony or beryllium. And it gets a failing grade for its paper sourcing. Apple, according to Greenpeace, “needs to develop a paper procurement policy which excludes suppliers that are involved in deforestation or illegal logging.”

With Al Gore on the board, I’m surprised Apple hadn’t thought of that.

The full Greenpeace report is available here.