The bulk of the carbon footprint associated with many electronic devices such as tablets and smartpohones is buried in the manufacturing operation where the electronic devices are assembled.

According to the study, while these companies have made progress at removing toxic chemicals from the products they produce, their manufacturing and supply chains are still too heavily dependent on energy-intensive sources that are contributing to climate change.

Greenpeace International’s Guide to Greener Electronics guide ranked 16 electronics companies based on their commitment and progress in three environmental criteria: energy and climate, greener products and sustainable operations.

Indian technology firm Wipro topped the ranking in its first appearance in the guide, due to its efforts to embrace renewable energy and advocacy for greener energy policies in India.

The company also scored well for post-consumer e-waste collection for recycling and for phasing out hazardous substances from its products.
HP meanwhile dropped from first to second while Nokia moved up from four to three. Dell dropped from three to five, and Apple also fell from five to six.

Most improved company over the past 12 months was Acer, moving up nine spots to fourth for engaging with its suppliers on greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous substances, conflict minerals and fibre sourcing.

As global electronics use grows, corporate environmental leadership will play a vital role in preventing more electronic waste and embracing cleaner energy. Launched in 2006, the Greenpeace guide has prompted many improvements including the phase-out of hazardous substances from products.

According to Greenpeace IT analyst Casey Harrell, the next big environmental challenge for consumer electronics companies is to reduce their carbon pollution.

“Consumers have stated that they want greener electronics, which means high functioning gadgets that are built and powered by renewable energy,” he said.

“Companies should work with their suppliers to implement more efficient manufacturing processes and to power the supply chain with renewable energy, not fossil fuels, just as they have successfully done to reduce the toxic materials in electronics.”

Maxine Perella

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