When the gadgets we use go to Delhi for recycling, their toxic contents end up in acrid smoke.
The Guide to Greener Electronics ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies and practice on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.
The guide is published quarterly. We went to press before Apple's updated environmental information was published last week, but the welcome news of their transparency about greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental disclosures will be factored in to the next edition. Apple can justly pat itself on the back for listening to their customers who asked for greener gadgets. And all you Apple users should pat yourselves on the back for asking.
Hewlett-Packard had their penalty point lifted by putting a personal computer on the market that is virtually free of PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride, or vinyl plastic) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Only the power supply unit and cable still contain these hazardous substances.
HP back on track
HP made a commitment in 2007 to have all PC products toxic-free in 2009, but went soft on that commitment earlier this year.
So we painted a protest on Hewlett-Packard's roof saying that HP stoodfor "Hazardous Products," and organized a phone-in protest with thevoice talents of William Shatner.With the new HP ProBook 5310m notebook, HP has made the first step incatching up with Apple, which eliminated these materials from itsentire product line almost a year ago, and now puts pressure squarelyon HP's competitors to put more products on the market that are cleanerand safer.
Apple are still ahead on toxics removal, having eliminated these materials from its entire product line almost a year ago, partly as a result of our "Green my Apple" campaign which brought consumer pressure to bear from people who loved their Macs, but really wished they came in green.
Slow learners: Dell and Lenovo
Dell and Lenovo each retain a penalty point for delaying their phase-out commitments indefinitely. Acer claims that it will still achieve its target for eliminating PVC and BFRs in all products by the end of this year. Meanwhile Toshiba has a timeline to phase out these toxic substances from all its products by the end of March 2010.
Top of the class: Nokia, Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Philips
Nokia remains at the top of the ranking, with a score of 7.5 out of 10, followed by Samsung with 6.9, Sony Ericsson with 6.5 and Philips -- which leaps from 7th to 4th place -- with 5.9 points. The other climber is Sony, rising from 12th to 8th place.
Slow-footed: LGE, Fujitsu and Lenovo
LGE plummets from 4th to 11th position, weighed down by a penalty point for flip-flopping on its promise to get off the toxic sauce by the end of 2010 - now, only its mobile phones will be free of these PVC and BFRs by then, while phase-out in TVs and monitors has been delayed until 2012. At the bottom of the ranking, Fujitsu, with a score of 2.7, overtakes Lenovo, which drops from 16th to second-last place with a score of 2.5.
The world needs climate leaders
This edition of the guide -- which also ranks companies on climate and energy criteria -- is released just two months before crucial climate change talks take place in Copenhagen.
We expect these powerful tech companies to stand by their claims and set examples of strong leadership for other industries to follow. It's encouraging that Philips, Acer and Samsung support the levels of greenhouse emissions cuts required to stem dangerous climate change. However industry giants like Apple, Nokia and Microsoft are failing to show climate leadership by making a stand.
Take a quick survey
We'd like to ask you a few questions to help make our next hi-tech climate campaign a success. Got a minute? Please take the survey!
Without donations from individuals like you we couldn't hold companies like these to account. Be part of a greener future -- donate now.