Last week saw a good announcement, a slippery quote and even a nice Obama quote related to greener electronics.
Sony Ericsson announced a new global recycling scheme for mobile phones and a commitment to make sure every single phone is responsibly recycled. This is a key ask we've been making to all the biggest electronic companies in our Guide to Greener Electronics and will help bring Sony Ericsson's score closer to the current leader, Nokia, in the next edition.
Sony Ericsson also talked up a green concept phone – all sounds nice, just like Nokia's Remade phone, but both remain just concepts right now. With mobile sales continuing to skyrocket there's an urgent need to reduce their environmental impact now.
Meanwhile Dell's head honcho was in London and facing a few questions about how he can claim Dell is well on the way to being greenest technology company on the planet when Dell only gets 4.6 in our Guide? As the FT noticed he just avoided the question, and IT Pro even quotes Michael accusing other brands of greenwash:
“…What a number of firms have done in Japan is they’ve introduced one model that has a very, very green footprint and it might be something that is one per cent of their sales. That’s a nice thing to do as a test but doesn’t really change the equation in terms of the volumes. Greenwashing is what it’s usually called.”
Maybe he's miffed that Dell currently ranks behind competitors like Sony and Fujitsu Siemens in our Guide!
Since Michael brought up the subject of greenwash let's take a look at Dell's green claims. Dell claims to be carbon neutral but it achieved this by planting trees and offsetting. This approach is flawed, as it doesn't actually cut overall emissions. Dell doesn't explicitly support the global emissions reductions we need to tackle climate change and has no target for absolute emissions cuts of it's own.
To be truly green Dell also has to deliver on its commitment to remove the worst toxic chemicals from its product range by the end of 2009. Otherwise its much-vaunted claim to be the 'greenest technology company on the planet' will be what looks more and more like the real greenwash.
While companies are competing with their green claims, in a rare Q&A session covering the environment for the US presidential candidates, Obama set out the challenge:
"We can also challenge manufacturers of computers, printers, and other electronic equipment to more effectively take back these products when they are discarded so that their components can be reused rather than shipped to landfills."