The Greener Electronics Guide is our way of getting the
electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste. We want
manufacturers to get rid of harmful chemicals in their products. We
want to see an end to the stories of unprotected child labourers
scavenging mountains of cast-off gadgets created by society's
Guide ranks companies according to their policies and practices
on toxic chemicals and takeback. Along with mobile phone and
personal computer companies, we've now added the biggest makers of
TVs and games consoles. Old TVs are a large part of e-waste and the
games console market is one of the fastest growing in consumer
Nintendo has the dubious honour of being the first company to
score 0/10 in the guide.
Microsoft did little better, scoring only 2.7.
Philips is the lowest TV-maker scoring only 2. The companies
are new to the Guide so have plenty of room for improvement.
Heading the ranking,
Sony Ericsson has taken over number one spot from Nokia while
Samsung and Sony have surged ahead to now occupy second and third
positions. Nokia and Motorola have each had a penalty point
deducted after we found their claims of global takeback were not
being matched by actual practice.
Matching words to actions
We tested the implementation of product takeback programmes in
six countries where Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson claim, on
their websites, to operate product takeback programmes. Nokia
representatives in the Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and
India were not informed about their companies' own programmes and
in many cases provided misleading information. Motorola staff in
the Philippines, Thailand and India were unable to direct customers
to collection points in their respective countries.
Here is one example from our investigations when we visited a
Nokia centre recommended by Nokia for recycling phones in Argentina
with a hidden camera:
As a result, Nokia falls from top position to ninth and Motorola
drops from ninth position to fourteenth.
"Companies shouldn't be under any illusions that we won't check
up on their claims of green greatness," commented Iza Kruszewska,
toxics campaigner at Greenpeace International.
Companies making the most progress with new products without the
worst toxic chemicals are now ranking higher than companies who
have only committed to remove them in the future. Toshiba has
laptops free of toxic chemicals like vinyl plastic (PVC) and has
reduced the use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Apple's
score improves slightly due to new iMacs reducing the use of PVC
and BFRs. All new mobiles from Sony Ericsson and Nokia have been
free of PVC since the end of 2006.
Our guide focuses on toxic chemicals and takeback policy because
of the rapid growth in quantities of toxic e-waste being dumped in
developing countries like China and India. While Nintendo's Wii
console appears to be more energy efficient compared to the
Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation, energy use is not yet covered
in the ranking.
Many companies have made big strides to improve their products
and recycling schemes since the introduction of the Guide. But no
company has so far succeeded in offering a entire range of products
free of the worst toxic chemicals or a comprehensive, free, global
takeback scheme to ensure responsible recycling.