Apple fails ‘green ranking’ test

They might have just sold their 100 millionth iPod, but Apple has come last in the latest environmental test put out by Greenpeace.

The Greenpeace ‘Green Electronics Guide’ ranks major mobile and PC manufacturers on “their global policies and practice on eliminating harmful chemicals and on taking responsibility for their products once they are discarded by consumers.”

Apple came last in terms of environmental friendliness among major electronics makers, according to criteria set out by the environmental campaign group.

“It comes down to replacability, and we’re asking manufacturers to take certain chemicals out of their products,” Nigel Campbell of Greenpeace told edie.

“The top-ranked companies [in this survey] have agreed to set targets and make commitments. We love Apple and their inspiring design, but would love to be in a position to congratulate them.”

In the same survey, which took place over eight months, Campbell says a careful analysis was performed to show a level of commitment by leading companies on policies including recycling and toxic content.

Chinese company Lenovo, which bought IBM in 2005 and ranked last in a previous survey, this year came out top scoring top marks for e-waste policies as well as commitment to takeback and recycling in countries where their products are sold.

Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Dell also fared well in the Greenpeace survey.

Nigel Campbell continued: “We’re asking for companies to show a commitment to takeback, recycling, and to remove poisonous chemicals. If you remove [poisonous chemicals] like PVC and fire retardants and replace [them] with more enviro-friendly substances then it doesn’t change the product. It is better for everyone.”

Apple responded to the Greenpeace ranking by issuing the following statement: “We disagree with Greenpeace’s rating and the criteria they chose. Apple has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, as well as many BFRs (brominated flame retardants). We have also completely eliminated CRT monitors, which contain lead, from our product line.”

In contrast to the Greenpeace ranking, Apple’s products fared better than Lenovo and Dell in EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) carried out by the Green Electronics Council which is funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Apple desktops, notebooks and displays each score best-in-class in EPEAT, which uses international standards set by IEEE, Apple says.

For more information on EPEAT see here.

For further details on the Greenpeace survey see here.

Apple’s environmental policies can be accessed here.

Dana Gornitzki

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