Apple CEO Steve Jobs has issued a public denial of claims that his company is less environmentally conscious than others in the industry in a public message published on the Apple website Wednesday evening.

In the message, which is available to read online here and also available as a PDF document for download here, Jobs confirms a change to the company's long-standing culture of secrecy, at least as far as environmental matters are concerned.

"It is generally not Apple’s policy to trumpet our plans for the future; we tend to talk about the things we have just accomplished. Unfortunately this policy has left our customers, shareholders, employees and the industry in the dark about Apple’s desires and plans to become greener. Our stakeholders deserve and expect more from us, and they’re right to do so. They want us to be a leader in this area, just as we are in the other areas of our business. So today we’re changing our policy," Jobs explains.

He then moves to compare Apple's green record with others named in well-reported documents emanating from environmental organisations.

He points out, for example, that Dell, Gateway, HP and Lenovo continue to ship CRT displays, displays which carry approximately 3-pounds of poisonous lead in every unit.

"Apple completely eliminated the use of CRTs in mid-2006," Jobs notes.

Jobs also uses his message to offer green-conscious consumers a hint on future Apple product plans, confirming a move to introduce LED, not LCD, flatscreens this year.

"We plan to introduce our first Macs with LED backlight technology in 2007," he writes, also revealing the company to be on track, "to introduce our first displays using arsenic-free glass in 2007".

Jobs ends his message with a statement that: "Today is the first time we have openly discussed our plans to become a greener Apple. It will not be the last. We will be providing updates of our efforts and accomplishments at least annually, most likely around this time of the year."

He also confirms plans to address other environmental issues, such as energy efficiency and the overall carbon “footprint” of Apple products.

"We may have some interesting data and issues to share later this year," he states.

"I hope you are as delighted as I was when I first learned how far along Apple actually is in removing toxic chemicals from its products and recycling its older products. We apologize for leaving you in the dark for this long. Apple is already a leader in innovation and engineering, and we are applying these same talents to become an environmental leader. Based on our tangible actions and results over time, hopefully our customers, employees, shareholders and professional colleagues will all feel proud of our ongoing efforts to become a greener Apple," he concludes.