Greenpeace guide to greener electronics: Electronics industry starting to go green

A year on from the launch of the Greenpeace guide to greener electronics, the industry has made great improvements. Companies are now competing to become the first to go green by eliminating hazardous substances and take back and recycle their products responsibly. The fifth guide, launched today, sees Nokia continue to lead the ranking with 8/10, with Sony Ericsson (second place) and Dell and Lenovo (joint third).

“Greenpeace is very pleased with the progress of the electronics industry, a year ago less than half of the companies scored above 5/10, now they all do” said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner. “There is still a long way to go for some, but the momentum is extremely encouraging. What is very exciting is that while the guide focuses on brand leaders, the improvements can be seen industry wide”.

Examples of companies joining in the race to become green include the computer company ASUS, which has made substantial changes to its environmental policies. In India, the launch of a ranking guide this summer has led to massive improvements in the green credentials of the Indian market electronics leaders WIPRO and HCL .

The biggest movers in the latest guide are Sony and LG Electronics. Both have had their penalty points lifted as they have left a US industry coalition which lobbies against producer responsibility for recycling discarded products. In the US, Sony has also introduced the most advanced takeback and recycling programme of any company.

“Sony’s new US programme to recycle their products for free and their withdrawal from the ARF Coalition reflect the company’s commitment to Individual Producer Responsibility. It shows real leadership to see a company with such a wide product portfolio take this initiative. Sony must now take steps to introduce this programme globally, doing this will put them well ahead of the pack” continued Kruszewska.

Hewlett Packard (HP), however, is the only company that has lost points since the ranking guide was started, for weakening its support for Producer Responsibility to take back products. HP still needs to provide concrete timelines for the complete elimination of hazardous chemicals.

Panasonic languishes at the bottom, as despite launching some products free from the most hazardous chemicals, they fail to deal with product waste responsibly. Apple, has not lost points, it has dropped to 12th position, as with no new action, it has allowed its competitors to race ahead.

Since the guide was launched, many more products free from PVC (vinyl) plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) are now available. A year ago, only Nokia and Sony Ericsson sold mobile phones free of one or both, now Motorola and LGE do too. Sony has also added a wide range of products including models of the VAIO notebook, Walkman, camcorders and digital camera that are partially BFR and PVC free. Panasonic lists examples of PVC free products that include DVD players, home cinemas, video players and lighting, and two BFR free models of lighting.


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