Apple's New Ad Insists It Likes Earth Just in Time for Earth Day — And, Surprisingly, it's Not All BS

Apple is pushing its commitment to sustainability just in time for Earth Day. On Monday the company gave up a big part of its home page real estate to Apple's new initiative to create more environmentally-friendly data centers. It's great to see Apple, three years ago known as the least environmentally-friendly company for its use of coal energy at data centers, pushing for the use of more sustainable energy. On the other hand, the company still has a long way to go.

Apple released a video Monday to advertise its new centers, which run on renewable energy. The video is nicely done (we venture a guess that it was made on a Mac) and is narrated by Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is extremely passionate about the environment. In March, Cook got in a tiff with a right-wing think tank over a debate about the company's commitment to sustainability and how it might affect shareholders' return on investment (ROI). He told Justin Danhof of the conservative National Center for Public Policy Research to drop Apple if he didn't believe in climate change.

When we work on making our devices accessible by the blind, I don’t consider the bloody ROI. ... If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Usually these videos set off a BS meter, but unlike his late predecessor, Cook's putting his money where his mouth is when it comes to the climate. In fact, Apple's close to powering 100 percent of its facilities with renewable energy, Wired reports. 94 percent of its corporate and data centers are already efficient; the next step are its stores. As part of the effort, Apple built the largest privately-owned solar farm in the world.

(Not mentioned: The company's overseas factories, where its products are produced, or the transportation costs of moving all those shiny metal-and-glass products around the globe.)

If Apple, now at the top of Greenpeace's list for sustainable tech companies, inspires other companies to follow suit, we say the self-aggrandizement is worth it.