Your guide to green electronics

Feature story - August 25, 2006
The biggest names in electronics have just sat their first global exam on their green credentials. Ranked on their use of toxic chemicals and electronic waste (e-waste) policies only Dell and Nokia scraped a barely respectable score while Apple, Motorola and Lenovo flunked the test to finish bottom of the class.

Piles of cables and computer waste awaiting scrapping. Wenling, zhejiang Province, China.

Our scorecard highlights which of the major electronics companies isdoing the most to remove the worst toxic chemicals from their productsand which companies have good recycling programs for their products

Full ranking

Click here for the ranking

The ranking is important because the amounts of toxic e-waste isgrowing everyday and it often ends up dumped in the developing world.Reducing the toxic chemicals in products reduces pollution from oldproducts and makes recycling safer, easier and cheaper. Companies withgood recycling schemes help ensure that their products don't end up inthe e-waste yards of Asia.

"The scorecard will provide a dynamic tool to green the electronicssector by setting off a race to the top. By taking back their discardedproducts, companies will have incentives to eliminate harmfulsubstances used in their products, since this is the only way they canensure safe reuse and recycling of electronic waste," said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner.

Nokia and Dell share the top spot in the ranking. They believe that asproducers they should bear individual responsibility for taking backand reusing or recycling their own-brand discarded products. Nokialeads the way on eliminating toxic chemicals, since the end of 2005 allnew models of mobiles are free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and all newcomponents to be free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from thestart of 2007. Dell has also set ambitious targets for eliminatingthese harmful substances from their products.

Third place goes to HP, followed by Sony Ericsson (4th), Samsung (5th), Sony (6th), LG Electronics (7th), Panasonic (8th), Toshiba (9th), Fujitsu Siemens Computers (10th), Apple (11th), Acer (12th) and Motorola (13th).

Lenovo is in bottom position. It earns points for chemicals managementand providing some voluntary product take back programmes, but it needsto do better on all criteria.

"It is disappointing to see Apple ranking so low in the overall guide.They are meant to be world leaders in design and marketing, they shouldalso be world leaders in environmental innovation." said Kruszewska.

Companies have the opportunity to move towards a greener ranking as theguide will be updated every quarter. However penalty points will bededucted from overall scores if we find a company lying, practisingdouble standards or other corporate misconduct. For now, companies arescored solely on information publicly available on their globalwebsites.

With a average score of only 4/10 it is clear that the electronicsindustry has a long way to go before it can make any claims to being agreen industry.

Download

the full scorecard as a pdf document.

Download

the ranking criteria as a pdf document.

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