Lenovo Tops the Latest "Green Ranking" of the Technology Industry

Apple still at the bottom of the barrel

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Feature story - April 3, 2007
Lenovo, once ranked last in our 'Green Ranking,' has shot up to first place, while Apple continues to scrape the bottom of the barrel. Well, if Lenovo can turn things around, what's stopping Apple from turning green?

In our latest ranking of electronic manufacturers' recycling and toxic content policies, we've seen one of the best outcomes yet.  The guide looks more like a roller coaster ride than a ranking, as many companies scramble to reach the top and improve their green policies. Michael Dell has challenged the entire industry to adopt a worldwide takeback policy (something we put on our wish list to Dell when the campaign first started), and several companies have met and even exceeded our demands. We've even gotten phone calls from manufacturers asking when, exactly, new policies needed to be adopted in order to be reflected in the next ranking.

Competitive pressure, an ongoing dialogue with Greenpeace campaigners, and consumer expectations have driven an improvement in companies' scores since the last edition of the Guide, with nine out of 14 companies now scoring more than five out of 10 points.

In our newest ranking, Chinese PC maker Lenovo has snatched the top position, displacing Nokia from the lead it had maintained since the Guide was launched. Sony and LG Electronics received 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.  (Are you a surprised and disappointed Apple user? We are too. So tell Steve Jobs that you'd like a green apple.

"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 products free of the worst chemicals on the market.

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 5th in December 2006) and is the first company to set a timeline of January 1, 2008 for eliminating substances such as phthalates, beryllium and some uses of antimony compounds.

Sony and LG Electronics have been penalized for their double standards on  policies for recycling their own-branded products. While both companies support Individual Producer Responsibility elsewhere in the world, here in the U.S. 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.

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