ArsTechnica: Greenpeace Study Flawed

I blogged about Greenpeace’s quarterly report on Green-Tech last week, noting that the way they display their data is manipulative, but turns out the data itself is deeply flawed.

John Timmer writes at ArsTechnica on just how poorly this quarterly report is researched:

The research in general appears lazy. Nintendo’s failing grade appears to be based entirely on this entry in the corporate FAQ, which briefly summarizes some of the steps the company has taken to protect the environment. Anything that’s not covered there is simply rated “No Information.” Similarly, all of the information on Microsoft originates from press materials and corporate statements on the company’s web site. Clearly, Greenpeace did not perform an exhaustive evaluation of chemical use through the manufacturing pipeline.

So, even if you think the shifting numbers on the graph aren’t misleading, it turns out that the whole study is pretty worthless. If an eco-friendly rating is based on cursory searches of the manufacturer’s own reports, then the best PR department wins, not the best practices. Greenpeace, along with many other environmental groups, refer to the all-PR approach to going green as”green washing.” Ironic that Greenpeace itself is now doing a bit of the scrubbing.