Friday, February 13, 2015

Apple and Google Search for Green Energy

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We rely on utilities to provide our energy.  However, they have been widely critiqued for not moving fast enough into renewable energy sources for their customers.  As a result, many consumers have taken energy production into their own hands by building solar or wind systems for their homes.

The corporate world is also becoming less reliant on traditional utilities.  It was reported this week that Apple and Google were each building green energy projects to power their corporate operations in California.  I expect that this trend will continue given that utilities are not rising to the green energy challenge.  Most Fortune 500 companies are way ahead of the rest of society in infusing sustainability concepts within their business model.  The fact that Apple and Google need to build their own green energy power plants demonstrates that major American utilities are behind the curve in social trends.

At the same time, it is important to point out that this move is a bit of greenwashing.  Apple is often critiqued for its offshore labor practices.  Plus its general marketing approach to selling disposable electronics does little to solve the largest sustainability problem in the U.S.--overconsumption.

So good for Apple and Google in going all in on green energy.  However, green energy is only one component of corporate sustainability.

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