An updated version of the "Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics" is released today.
The latest edition of the Greenpeace Guide, which ranks companies on their policies regarding chemicals and waste, shows Chinese PC maker Lenovo in the top position, displacing Nokia from the lead it had maintained since the Guide was launched. Sony and LG Electronics receive penalty points for operating double standards on their e-waste takeback policies across the world, losing their places in the top five, while Apple, having made no progress since the launch of the Guide in August 2006, continues to languish in last place, far behind all other major manufacturers.
"Given the growing mountains of e-waste in China - both imported and domestically generated - it is heartening to see a Chinese company taking the lead, and assuming responsibility at least for its own branded waste," said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, "The challenge for the industry now is to see who will actually place greener products on the market."
Lenovo, which bought IBM's consumer electronics division in 2005, scores top marks on its e-waste policies and practice; the company offers take-back and recycling in all the countries where its products are sold. Lenovo also reports the amount of e-waste it recycles as a percentage of its sales. However, the company has yet to put on the market products that are free of the worst chemicals.
Other companies in the top five include Nokia (2nd), Sony Ericsson (3rd) Dell (4th) and Samsung (5th).
Sony Ericsson has moved back up the guide (they were 3rd in August 2006) and is the first company to set a timeline of 1st January 2008 for eliminating substances in addition to those banned by the European RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronic products) Directive, including phthalates, beryllium and some uses of antimony compounds.
Sony and LG Electronics have been penalised for practicing double standards on their regional and national policies for recycling their own-branded products. While both companies support Individual Producer Responsibility elsewhere in the world, in the United States they are part of a coalition opposing producer responsibility laws and calling for consumers, instead of producers, to pay for the recycling of e-waste.
"We expect companies to have consistent global policies and treat all their customers equally. With this edition of the Guide, we're seeing some companies move beyond good statements of principle and towards real action, with the roll-out of voluntary take back programs and detailed information being provided to customers. But companies have to stay on the ball and progress in step with the market. Existing commitments from companies begin to look less impressive on this dynamic score card as their competitors raise the bar!" concluded Kruszewska.
Snapshot of the ranking:
Sony Erickson ↑
1. Beryllium is used mainly in electrical contacts. Recycling of these materials can produce beryllium dusts, exposure to which, even at very low levels and for short periods of time can cause a debilitating lung disease known as chronic beryllium disease (CBD).
Phthalates are primarily used as plasticisers (softeners) in certain plastics, especially PVC. Some phthalates are known to be toxic to the development of the reproductive system.