Green Electronics Survey #3

A snapshot of the results

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Feature story - January 6, 2011
In our assessment this year we found a general improvement in green features compared to the previous two surveys in 2008 and 2009. Here's quick overview of what we found.

Based on the full assesment of all the products submitted by the 18 companies who decided to participate, this edition of our report made three main findings:

1. A significant reduction in the use of hazardous chemicals.

More products than ever before are PVC-free and BFR-free. The use of phthalates, as well as beryllium and antimony and their associated compounds, are being eliminated in every product category.

2. Exceeding energy efficiency standards.

Almost all products meet or exceed the current Energy Star standards established by the US EPA. Electronics companies seem to put much more effort in improving the energy efficiency of their products rather than assessing thoroughly (and reducing) the ‘embedded energy’ – that is, the energy spent during the production of each product.

3. Product lifecycle responsibility must improve.

Lifecycle management is still the weakest point of electronic products, with very little use of recycled plastic, a variety of take-back practices (generally improving) and little marketing efforts to prevent fast obsolescence of products.

We did find that companies are becoming more transparent in the amount and type of product information they provide to customers, often listing product’s chemical make-up and performance details.

 

How do the different tech manufacturers stack-up?
Here you'll find the rankings for 4 different sectors. For a more detailed analysis, download the full report.

Desktop computers

Desktop Computer Ranking

* Note that the ‘possible product’ is a fictional product that combined the best features of all submitted products within each category. Its overall score has been calculated using the best score in each criterion.

The clear winner in this category is the PVC and BFR-free Hewlett Packard 6005 Pro. HP regains the top spot after dropping to fourth place in the second survey. Fujitsu’s Esprimo 9900 follows in second place, less than half a point behind the winner. Very close behind are the Dell Optiplex 980 and the CS6110 by Asus, a new entrant to the survey. In fifth place is another first-time participant, the Indian companyWipro, which has also produced a PVC and BFR-free model.

This is the first time that PVC and BFR-free models have been submitted to the survey, clearly showing the progress that has been made in the management of hazardous chemicals by participating companies.


Mobile phones

Desktop Computer Ranking

This year’s mobile phone line-up was dominated by Samsung’s Blue Earth, which scored particularly well in the energy efficiency category. The Sony Ericsson Elm J10i made it to second place due to its strong performance in the chemicals section, and the LG Electronics GD510 was not far behind in third place. In the chemicals category all the products submitted are PVC and BFR-free, while in 2009 only the winning Samsung product achieved this.

Televisions

Desktop Computer Ranking

Sharp once again provided the strongest television model in the survey. Its LC-52SE1 model was far superior when it came to the chemicals criteria, and also won the energy section by a large margin. The Panasonic and Sony models were very close together but well behind the winner. Samsung did not repeat its good placing from the mobile and smartphone categories in this category due to its continued use of PVC and BFRs in the UE46C6000 television, although it performed well in the lifecycle section.

Philips did not wish to participate in the survey. However, the Philips Econova 42 is the only PVC and BFR-free product in this category, and the first-ever available on the market. Due to lack of information provided by the company, the product could not be ranked against all criteria, and has therefore not been included in the table below. Had Philips provided all the data that was required, the Econova would have stood a good chance to achieve a top placing.

Smartphones

Desktop Computer Ranking

Sony Ericsson improved on its second place in the mobile phone category by taking the top spot for its Aspen smartphone, which led both the chemicals and lifecycle sections. Nokia, which had the winning product for this category in 2009, was the only other manufacturer that achieved well over five points with its N8-00. This was also the product with the most energy-efficient charger. The Samsung Wave and the HP Palm Pixi Plus both scored significantly fewer points but still notably more than the Blackberry Pearl and the Dell Aero.