Apple vs. Samsung: Battle of the Green Giants*

Posted on October 21, 2011

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Image: Courtesy of Mofonu

Welcome ladies and gentleman to the green battle of the year. In this corner earning $133 bil./yr. originating from South Korea is Samsung (revenue source: Fortune Global 500). And in the opposing corner is Apple, born and raised in the USA, which just announced FY11 revenue of $108 billion.

Round 1: Green Company Rankings. In Newsweek’s latest Green Rankings, Samsung jumped 33 spots to tie Nokia as the top-ranked Smartphone Supplier in the world. While correlation does not equal causation, Samsung’s laser-focused efforts on green initiatives have also led to a greener bottom line. Since January 1, 2011, Samsung’s profit has increased 42% from 2.95 trillion won (~ $2.46 billion) to 4.2 trillion won (~ $3.5 billion) (source: Samsung estimates, Oct. 6, 2011). As shown in the chart below, Apple is the second greenest smartphone supplier (behind Samsung and Nokia), although it ranks first in smartphone global market share. Round 1 winner: Samsung.

Round 2: Sustainability: In September, the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Annual Review named Samsung the most Sustainable Technology company in the world. Round 2 winner: Samsung.

Round 3: Green Brands. In July, Samsung had the third best Global Green Brand Rank for smartphone manufacturers in Interbrand’s Top 50 report (#25 among all brands). Apple ranked 1st (#13 overall) and Nokia ranked 2nd (#22 overall). Round 3 winner: Apple.

Round 4: Green Profits: Yet Apple is the champ in the other green category: profits. In 2Q of 2011, Apple captured the lion’s share of global operating profits among the top mobile phone makers: 66%. According to Asymco market intelligence, that was twice the combined profits of Samsung (11%), RIM (11%) and HTC (7%).  Round 4 winner: Apple.

Round 5: Green Products. In June, Samsung announced the Replenish cell phone being the world’s first to achieve the UL Environment Certified Mobile Phone certification. Apple has not rested on its laurels, for Apple beat Samsung to the punch in publishing the most thorough Environmental Reports for its iPhone, iPad, and iPod products available for all to read on their website. Round 5: Draw.

So in the green battle between Samsung and Apple, Samsung will seek to get the winning punch with more corporate sustainability initiatives and certifications while Apple is poised to continue fighting toward gargantuan green profits and enhancing its green brand. Yet Apple’s Environmental Product Reports could be the tipping point. They may signal the next TKO for Apple to use the greenness of its products as another sustainable competitive advantage to keep its smartphone leadership.

Who do you think will win the Green Battle?

* Article first published as Apple vs. Samsung: Battle of the Green Giants on Technorati by Ed Valdez, EcoLeader.

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© 2011 by Ed Valdez

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Posted in: Eco Leader