Apple Ousts Greenpeace

by Janet Meyer Oct 31, 2006

According to Apple Insider and others, Greenpeace’s stand at the MacExpo in London was shut down on the first day. Greenpeace set up a stand at the Expo with the purpose of educating attendees about the use of toxic chemicals in Apple product, in accordance with its Green My Apple campaign.

As you would expect, Greenpeace and Apple both have their own side of the story. Greenpeace says that the expulsion was totally uncalled for. They go on to say that Apple should be the world leader in green electronics.

An article by MacWorld UK gives Apple’s side of the story. MacWorld quotes event director Bob Denton as stating that Greenpeace paid money for a booth and had a right to be at the Expo. They were ejected for violating terms and conditions in their signed contract.

More specifically, Greenpeace didn’t settle for staying at their booth to try to educate attendees. The problems began when a group of 12 Greenpeace activists stood at the door, handing out flyers and apples. Expo management told them that they would allow two of them to stand inside the door and hand out flyers, but they didn’t want a gathering outside. It was disruptive to attendees.

From there things went downhill. Several visitors and several exhibitors complained about Greenpeace’s activities. Activists went to other booths for mock photo shoots. They replaced the promotional material of other exhibitors with their own. After a woman complained that they put an apple on her child’s pram and took photos without her permission, Denton told them that he would not eject them if they showed some reason.

Ultimately they were forced out after four more complaints; two from visitors and two from exhibitors.

Roughly Drafted has several articles on the topic. There are lengthy discussions, mainly focused on whether Greenpeace’s reporting on Apple is correct. Greenpeace calls Apple one of the worst environmental offenders. The writer at this site looks at the Greenpeace reports and breaks things down, ultimately seeming to conclude that Greenpeace is going after Apple more for publicity than for environmental concerns.

Roughly Drafted states that Greenpeace ignored its own lab reports in ranking Apple the worst of the bunch. This article provides a link to EPEAT and says that EPEAT rankings show Apple leading the industry in environmental awareness. EPEAT is a ranking and award system put together by several groups, including the Environmental protection Agency and the Zero Waste Alliance.

Greenpeace campaigns to make the world a more environmentally-friendly place. With many scientists openly declaring that Global Warming is becoming a problem, many agree with Greenpeace. The problem is more in their way of going about things.

On the Green My Apple website, Greenpeace asks for Apple to make a number of changes. Some of these might be reasonable for Apple and other electronics companies. If members of this organization would be willing to hand out flyers and talk to people without disruption, they might find people paying more attention.

Even if Apple is better than Greenpeace says, there’s always room for improvement. Nobody in the computer industry gets EPEATs top award. I’d love to see Apple be the first to qualify. In the meantime, Greenpeace should focus more on helping companies improve and less on trying to alienate them.


  • Uh, why the sensational title to the article? You give no supporting evidence that it was Apple who caused them to be ousted and lots of evidence that it was their own behavior that got them kicked out.

    If I were to suggest that you titled the article this way just so you could get more ad hits to raise revenue, would you say that is a fair and unbiased reporting of the facts? Well, you probably wouldn’t like it if I started saying this about your site in other places without the “true” facts or if I were sensational about it. Stop and think about your integrity before you write something. It matters.

    SirROM had this to say on Oct 31, 2006 Posts: 3
  • SirROM accuses you of acting just like Greenpeace, see? wink

    Good article though, perfectly reasonable. We expect both players to do their best, plain and simple. All the nagging on both laws is getting annoying lately.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Oct 31, 2006 Posts: 371
  • The title was never meant to be misleading, and I apologize ifit was.

    According to Apple, they had reason to eject Greenpeace; but still, they did eject them. I could have used the word “ejected” or something similar, but they mean the same thing. Both Greenpeace and Apple view it as an ejection.

    I would guess that Greenpeace would think the article is biased. At the time I wrote this, I could find very little rebuttal from Greenpeace. Today I found their side of the story. It’s at

    As you can see, their side is quite a bit different. I wasn’t there, I haven’t a clue what the true story is. I think it’s a good time, however, for Apple and other companies to review their environmental policies.

    It’s an interesting debate. Does Greenpeace use Apple for publicity, or is Apple really the worst environmentally? Either way, there’s always room for improvement environmentally. There’s also room for improvement on how Greenpeace spreads their message.

    Janet Meyer had this to say on Oct 31, 2006 Posts: 36
  • I have to believe that by getting kicked out of the MacWorld UK conference Greenpeace got just what it wanted: publicity.  Greenpeace is trying to tap the emotions of people by creating a bigger story than might have otherwise existed. 

    Why does Greenpeace single out Apple among computer manufacturers?  Is it because they are the most egregious offender, or the biggest company?  No.  It is because Apple alone among computer companies can create the emotional response that Greenpeace thrives on.  Would anyone care if Dell or H/P were the target of this campaign?  Not a chance.

    But Apple?  People LOVE Apple.  And that love is what creates an opportunity to tap into people’s feelings and that’s what Greenpeace is all about.  Feelings.  They are not an educational organization but an emotional one and, like a somewhat unstable former lover, they use confrontation to provide that emotional connection. 

    But unfortunately, they are coming off here as just a little bit needy, a little bit loony and more than a little bit pathetic.

    We get your point, Greenpeace.  It’s time to move on and get a life of your own.

    Hal Summers had this to say on Oct 31, 2006 Posts: 4
  • I think you are right Greenpeace does know everyone loves their Apples and that is why Greenpeace wants Apple to be the best.  So that we can be proud of our Apple’s.  Apple is a leader and it would be amazing for their company if they could become the leader in this area as well.

    KATHRYN had this to say on Nov 03, 2006 Posts: 1
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