Greenpeace ranks electronics producers

Pressure group Greenpeace has published a league table looking at the environmental performance of computer manufacturers and other producers of electronics.

Greenpeace released its first Guide to Greener Electronics in August this year and has now published a follow-up to chart the progress, or lack of it, over the past four months.

The guide looks at the 14 biggest producers of PCs and mobile phones and ranks them according to their policies on toxic chemicals and recycling.

Greenpeace has come under fire for simply relying on the published intentions of the companies on their corporate websites and in CSR reports, rather than analysing action which has actually taken place.

But if viewed as a snapshot of how the industry is recognising consumer, and political, concerns about the environmental impact of the goods it produces, the guide is still of value.

According to Greenpeace Taiwanese giant Acer and Chinese producer Lenovo are the latest of the top computer makers to commit to stop using the worst toxic chemicals in their products.

Along with phone makers Motorola these companies are the biggest movers in the latest version of the guide.

Mac producer Apple has dropped to last place.

Greenpeace claims the ranking system has spurred many companies to improve, and the second edition of the guide shows good overall industry progress and some major individual improvements in rank.

“We are witnessing a global shift towards greener PCs, with Acer and Lenovo, two major producers, committing to eliminate the use of the most hazardous chemicals from their products range,” said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner.

“Most companies now score above average points on the ranking guide, with only five companies failing to score even the average of five points.”

Nokia continues to hold the top spot in the ranking, with progressive policies on both its chemicals policy as well as disposal of electronic waste. However, the company is yet to outline clear timelines for phasing out the toxic plastic PVC (vinyl) in all its products.

Motorola has been the fastest mover in the ranking guide. From second worst in the first version of the guide, it has made strong commitments to moved up to fourth place.

Lenovo has also made strong policy commitments, to jump from the bottom to 8th place.

Fujitsu-Siemens and Acer made substantial progress and are now ranked 3rd and 7th respectively, moving up from their earlier 10th and 12th positions.

Apple has made no improvements in its policies and is now bottom of the ranking.

LGE, Samsug and Sony have lost points for failing to act on their commitments to take responsibility for their waste; instead, the companies are supporting regulation in the US that would place the responsibility for product recycling on consumers instead of producers.

Sam Bond

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