Gadgets get greener says our new guide

Feature Story - 2008-09-19
Top brands like Nokia and Samsung are getting greener, according to the latest edition of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. Read on to check out the guide and see if your favourite brand is really that eco-friendly.

Greenpeace dumps Philips electronic waste in front of company headquarters to protest its refusal to responsibly recycle its used products.

The Greener Electronics Guide is our way of getting the electronics industry to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products.

Despite our tougher standards, leading names are doing better at cutting out toxics, recycling and reducing their carbon footprint.

Our guide has e-clout

First launched in August 2006 and now in its 9th edition, the Guide ranks the leaders of the mobile phone, computer, TV and games console markets according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals, recycling and energy.

The Guide has been a key driving force in getting many companies to make significant improvements to their environmental policies, and it continues to provoke significant change in the industry.

We want to see a greener electronics industry – one that's toxic-free, energy efficient, and that recycles its products responsibly.

Who's in the lead, and who's in need?

Scoring seven points out of ten, Nokia has regained the lead, due largely to its improved take-back practice in India.

Samsung, a top scorer on the energy efficiency of its products, takes second place with 5.9 points.

Fujitsu Siemens Computers jumps to third place with 5.5 points, having finally set late 2010 as its deadline for eliminating toxic PVC plastic and all BFRs from across its product range.

Although Sony Ericsson and Sony – who enjoyed the top two positions in the previous edition – rank fourth and fifth respectively this time around, they remain in the top half of the ranking with scores of 5.3 each.

Languishing at the bottom of the ranking is Sharp with 3.1, Microsoft with 2.2 points and Nintendo, with only 0.8.

Recent victories

Intel recently announced that its new Xeon 5400 processors use transistors made from hafnium, thus avoiding the use of toxic brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

Last week, we also saw the announcement by Apple that its new line of iPods would be free of BFRs, PVC and mercury.

Greener Electronics: Toxic-free

We want manufacturers to eliminate harmful chemicals in their product design. While no company has, so far, released a computer completely free of BFRs and PVC, several have recently launched products with restricted amounts of toxic BFRs and PVC.

Sony Ericsson, Nokia and Apple score highly on this count.

Greener Electronics: Energy efficient

The global Information and Communication Technology industry is estimated to be responsible for approximately 2 percent of global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and the rapid proliferation of energy-hungry electronic gadgets is part of this.

Aside from assessing the efficiency of their products, we also score companies according to how much renewable energy they use and the level of their commitment to significantly reducing emissions.

Top scorers on energy-efficiency of individual products are Apple, Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung, with Toshiba providing a further example of a company that is improving its climate policy.

Greener Electronics: Responsibly recycled

We want to see an end to the stories of unprotected child labourers scavenging mountains of cast-off gadgets created by society's gizmo-loving ways.

Philips stands out as the company with the worst position on e-waste and recycling. Companies like Philips believe that the costs for responsible recycling of their obsolete and end-of-life products should be met by governments and consumers (and that means you!).

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