Greenpeace calls on Hewlett Packard to phase out toxic substances

Press release - 2005-11-17
In an action at the Chinese HQ of Hewlett Packard (HP) in Beijing, two GP volunteers hung a banner reading: "Change + HP = no-toxics is possible". Greenpeace is calling on HP to eliminate the use of harmful substances in its products.

Two Greenpeace activists, in traditional Chinese costumes, hung a banner reading "Change + HP = no-toxics is possible" in front of the Chinese headquarters of HP.

Despite the fact that Greenpeace has been in dialogue with HP for almost two years and has targeted the company in a series of actions spanning three continents in May 2005, the company has yet to make a commitment on phasing out harmful substances. In a recent press release (1), HP announced its goal to eliminate all brominated-flame retardants (BFRs) from its plastic casings, something that more progressive companies have already achieved several years ago. Brominated flame-retardants are toxic chemicals used to resist high levels of heat and in some cases have been known to be hormone disruptors.

"Greenpeace is calling on HP to stop the greenwash, catch up with the times and genuinely  'Design for Environment'", said ZHAO Yang from Greenpeace China. "Removing all brominated flame-retardants from plastic casings is a small step and leaves HP way behind the rest of the electronics industry.  If HP were to eliminate all brominated flame-retardants and PVC from its entire products within a clear and reasonable timeline, it would at least catch up with its competitors. Better still, it could stay ahead of the game and commit to eliminating all hazardous chemicals from its products," he added.

In contrast, one of HP's major competitors in Europe and Asia-Pacific, Acer has been much more responsive. After a six-month dialogue with Greenpeace, Acer recently wrote to GP stating that the company is committed to phasing out all toxic chemicals from its products and as a concrete step in this direction, will announce a substitution plan to phase out PVC and all BFRs by the third quarter of 2006.

Companies, including Nokia, Sony, Sony Ericsson, Motorola, LG Electronics and Samsung, have already committed to stop using these harmful substances. Besides HP, other laggards include Apple, Dell, Fujitsu Siemens, IBM, Lenovo, NEC, Panasonic and Toshiba.

Contacts:

ZHAO Yang, Greenpeace China Campaigner, +86 10 65546931-107 WANG Xiaojun, Greenpeace China Media Officer, +86 10 65546931-151

Notes:

(1) 1st November 2005 at: http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2005/051101a.html

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