With expanded and tougher criteria on toxic chemicals,
electronic waste and new criteria on climate change,
only Sony and Sony Ericsson score more than
5/10 in the latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics.
Nintendo and Microsoft remain rooted to the
bottom of the Guide.
The Greener Electronics Guide is Greenpeace's way of getting
the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste.
The organisation wants manufacturers to get rid of harmful
chemicals in their products and to see an end to the stories
of unprotected child labourers scavenging mountains of cast-off
gadgets created by society's gizmo-loving ways.
First launched in August 2006, the Guide is now on its 8th
edition. It ranks the top market leaders of the mobile phone,
computer, TV and games console markets according to their
policies and practices on toxic chemicals and take-back. It
has been a key driving force in getting many of the companies
to make significant improvements to their environmental policies.
New to this edition are criteria to assess the performance
of electronics companies on tackling climate change.
Companies are scored on disclosure of their greenhouse gas
emissions, commitment for absolute cuts in their own emissions
and support for the mandatory global emissions reductions
that are needed to tackle climate change. On energy efficiency,
a selection of each company’s product range is assessed to
see how far they exceed the current de-facto global
standard - the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy
Energy Star sets minimum standards for energy efficiency
for many types of electronic
products. The overall percentage of renewable energy
in a company's total energy use is also assessed.
The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector
currently accounts for two percent of global greenhouse gas
emissions - equal to the aviation industry. As one of the
most innovative and fastest growing industries, the biggest
electronics companies must show leadership in tackling climate
change by reducing both their direct and indirect climate
Greenpeace's toxics campaigner, Iza Kruszewska, has noticed
stark contrasts while compiling the Guide - “Electronics giants
pay attention to environmental performance on certain issues,
while ignoring others that are just as important. Philips,
for example, scores well on chemicals and energy criteria,
but scores a zero on e-waste since it has no global take-back
polices. Philips would score higher if it took responsibility
for its own branded e-waste and established equitable global
Many companies score well on energy efficiency as their products
comply and exceed Energy Star standards. The best performers
on energy efficiency are Sony Ericsson and Apple,
with all of their models meeting - and many exceeding - Energy
Star requirements. Sony Ericsson stands out as the
first company to score almost top marks on all of the chemicals
criteria. With all new Sony Ericsson models
being PVC-free, the company has also met the new chemicals
criterion in the ranking, having already banned antimony,
beryllium and phthalates from models launched since
Apple missed a big chance to advance its score by
not improving the environmental performance of the new version
of the iPhone.
Some companies that promote their ‘green’ policies
come up short when measured against global standards of measuring
impacts on climate change. Dell scores relatively poorly,
while Toshiba, Samsung and LGE score close to
- or zero - on climate change criteria.
Among the games console makers, Microsoft drops to
second bottom of the Guide with a low score on climate criteria.
Nintendo’s score increases slightly with some improvement
on toxic chemicals and climate policy. However, even Nintendo’s
relatively energy efficient Wii console does not meet
Energy Star standards that cover minimum energy efficiency
standards for PCs and consoles.
With most companies now scoring less than 5/10, only a company
that rises to the challenge of phasing-out toxic chemicals,
increasing the recycling rate of e-waste, using recycled materials
in new products and reducing their impact on climate change
can seriously hope to make the claim of being green.
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