Sunday, 13 November 2011

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics – HP is the new leader.

Greenpeace - Greener Electronics I’ve reported on Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics in the past (just search The Green IT Review for details), but it’s been more than a year since the last analysis - previously the NGO published rankings quarterly. Now, though, the analysis has been revamped and a new ranking published.

A total of 15 electronics companies, mostly in the ICT industry, have been assessed on energy, greener products and sustainable operations. HP has come out on top with a score of 5.9 out of a possible 10 points, followed by Dell, Nokia and Apple. Full details of each company’s performance are available here.

The scoring criteria have changed somewhat for this delayed ranking, but briefly there are three areas of assessment:

  • Criteria on energy and climate, which requires disclosure of GHG emissions, commitment to reduce the company’s own Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, a Clean Energy Plan to implement these cuts in GHGs, and advocacy for a clean energy policy at national and sub-national level. (The Guide is now part of Greenpeace’s wider Cool IT campaign to persuade IT industry leaders to become climate action leaders).

  • Criteria on greener products, which covers aspects of performance such as energy efficiency, use of hazardous substances, use of recycled plastics, and product durability, re-usability and ease of repair.

  • Criteria on sustainable operations, including things like reducing embedded energy in products, better chemicals management, a paper sourcing policy, supply chain disclosures and take-back programmes.



HP, which was joint third in the last ranking, now leads due to a high score for measuring and reducing carbon emissions from its supply chain, reducing its own emissions and advocating for climate legislation.

Dell, previously in tenth place, takes second position with a score of 5.1. The PC maker scores well for having the most ambitious climate target, with a plan to reduce its emissions by 40% by 2020, and a strong policy on sustainable paper sourcing.

Nokia (4.9) has slipped from first place to third, after holding the top position for as many years. The Finnish phone maker could regain its position by demonstrating how it will reduce future emissions through energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

RIM enters the table for the first time, but in last place with a score of just 1.6. However, the Canadian company does score well on the important conflict minerals issue and sustainable paper policy.

Microsoft and Nintendo are no longer included in the rankings because of their limited product portfolio, which must be a relief for Nintendo, given that it was in last place in the rankings every time it appeared. Motorola and Fujitsu have also been removed because of reductions in their global market share. Microsoft will now only be assessed in the Cool IT Leader board due out in 2012. The next Guide to Greener Electronics ranking is due in the second half of 2012.


I’ve not always been completely supportive of Greenpeace’s views of how well the ICT industry has been doing and the Guide’s analysis, but that’s been more of a failing on my part rather than the NGO’s.

The organisation has continually pushed for ICT companies to do better (reflected in the fact that the average score for the rankings this time round is just 4.0, down from 4.5 last time). But it’s clear that the industry has to keep up its efforts to become more sustainable and having Greenpeace biting at its heels certainly helps.

I’m also pleased that Greenpeace is making much of the role of ICT companies in pushing for clean energy policies. It’s always been my view that the industry should stand up and be counted in the energy debate – they certainly have nothing to lose, given ICT’s role as a low-carbon enabler.

© The Green IT Review

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