Thursday, 27 May 2010

Greenpeace has reported version 15 of its Guide to Greener Electronics

Greenpeace - Greener Electronics Greenpeace has released its latest assessment of the top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.


Nokia and Sony Ericsson continue to be well ahead of the pack and have increased their lead.  Nokia has a slightly increased score of 7.5 (up from 7.3) as the result of phasing out some chemicals in new products and also for the CEO’s statement in support of 30% cuts in greenhouse gas emissions in industrialised countries by 2020.  Sony Ericsson stays at 6.9, but the company is the best performer on the toxic chemicals criteria of all the ranked brands, being the first to score full marks on all chemicals criteria.

The most significant changes in the rest of the field were the dramatic falls of Toshiba, LG and Samsung.

Toshiba was marked down from 5.3 to 3.5 and drops dramatically from 3rd place to 14th.  This was mainly due to a penalty point imposed for backtracking on its commitment to make all new models of its consumer electronics products free of PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by 1 April 2010.  Further points were lost for not setting a new timeline for their elimination and also for the company’s lack of third party verification for its calculations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

LG Electronics’ score was cut from 5.1 points to 3.7, resulting in a fall from 6th to 12th place in the rankings.  Most of the loss was due to the energy efficiency of its products.  The company had received maximum points for its compliance with the Energy Star standard for its chargers, PCs and TVs, but, according to Greenpeace, this was not the case in both the US and Australia.

Samsung score also dropped from 5.1 to 3.7, falling from 7th to 13th place.  The company now has two penalty points.  The first was for backtracking on its commitment to eliminate BFRs in new models of all products by January 2010 and PVC vinyl plastic by end of 2010. The second for apparently not owning up in advance to not being able to meet the commitment.

Most of the other companies had very similar scores to the last assessment, although rankings have changed due to the three big fallers.  Dell did make some progress, though.  Whilst still suffering from a previous penalty point for backtracking on its commitment to eliminate PVC vinyl plastic and BFRs, the company gained ground through supporting restrictions on PVC and BFRs in the revised EU RoHS Directive and also for putting on the market the first completely PVC and BFR-free monitors. Dell has also released a BFR/PVC-free mobile phone in China.


It’s an interesting, if idiosyncratic, assessment from Greenpeace.  I bet the companies concerned have a lot to say in their defence, but it puts pressure on the manufacturers, allows Greenpeace to amend its criteria over time and keeps the debate going, which is as it should be.

I said last time around that it would be useful if Greenpeace would show the companies’ scores over time, so we can see what progress they’ve made.  Lo and behold we now have it.

© The Green IT Review

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