In the latest version, Apple scored a 5.3 on a 10-point scale, far behind leader Nokia, which scored the highest with an 8. But Apple isn't the only offender, according to Greenpeace's assessments. HP scored the same as Apple, while Panasonic ranked the worst with a 5.
"The good news for the industry is that every company is scoring a 5 or better," said Rick Hind, the legislative director of Greenpeace's toxic campaign. "But no one is scoring a 9 or 10 yet. … It's a race to the top."
Some critics, however, dismissed the report as a PR stunt.
"I'm kind of in the 'this is a publicity stunt from Greenpeace' corner," Michael Gartenberg, the vice president and research director of Jupiter Research, told ABCNEWS.com. "Apple's a very good target for them because of [its] popularity in the marketplace. … It happens when you are as successful as they are. [Apple] becomes this sort of marketing vehicle for other people to use for publicity purposes."
According to Gartenberg, Apple has a history of "paying attention to environmental issues."
"It's a company that now has Nobel laureate Al Gore on its board."
Gartenberg doesn't believe that Apple's sales will be affected by the report. "I think most people will see it for what it is," he said. "Sales won't be hurt at all."
Hind dismisses arguments that Greenpeace is singling out Apple. He says the organization examined the iPhone for two reasons: because of Jobs' announcement in May and because the company is a leader in its field.
"Apple is known for its innovation. So we're hoping it will continue to be a trailblazer for these and all these other environmental policies," Hind said. "In May, Apple made a commitment to phase out these chemicals in 2008. … [We're] hoping this will help the company to motivate a faster schedule for these changes. If they're going to do it by 2008, they've got to start somewhere."
Hind says he believes that it's not enough for Apple to comply with the ROHS standards.
"Other companies are surpassing Apple," he said. "Whenever a company says they're complying with the law that's like pulling over a driver and saying I only had two beers. Well we'd like them to be doing it without any beers. … Their competitors are doing it without these chemicals."
The Center for Environmental Health says it shares similar goals with Greenpeace: to speed up the process of the removal of the chemicals.
"We always go into these cases with … the goal of company reform, and we always almost achieve that goal," Margulis said. "[Apple] made a commitment to be PVC-free by the end of 2008. Hopefully, with our legal work, we can maybe speed up that time frame."