Apple Scores Lowest on Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics

July 6, 2010

Greenpeace updated its “Guide to Greener Electronics” today, the first quarterly update of the technology industry’s performance on environmental issues. The guide ranks the 14 top manufacturers of personal computers and cell phones, and due to the commitments by many companies to greener manufacturing processes, the rankings have changed, although Apple Computers, Inc. remains in last place. Many companies besides Apple are following recommendations to eliminate the most hazardous chemicals from their products and are adopting progressive recycling policies, such as financing the take-back, reuse or recycling end-of-life products.

"Despite being a leader in innovation and design, Apple has made absolutely no improvements to its policies or practices since the ranking was first released three months ago," said Rick Hind, Legislative Director of Greenpeace USA's Toxics campaign. "Apple's bad green policy is not a wonderful life for workers in the scrap yards of the developing world, and we can't imagine that Steve Jobs would want to be the Mr. Potter of the high-tech industry this holiday season."

Most companies now score above average points on the ranking guide, with only five companies failing to score even the average of five points. No company has yet to receive better than a 7 out of 10 rating. The top-ranked brands have committed to eliminate the use of the most hazardous chemicals in their products and acknowledged that they bear individual responsibility for financing the take-back and responsible reuse or recycling of their own-brand discarded products. Two manufacturers, Acer and Lenovo, have committed to eliminate the use of the most hazardous chemicals from their products. Nokia continues to hold the top spot in the ranking for both its chemicals policy as well as disposal of electronic waste. However, the company has yet to give clear timelines for phasing out polyvinyl chloride (PVC).

Motorola has been the fastest mover in the ranking guide. Although the company was ranked second worst in the first version of the guide, released in September, it has made strong commitments since then and has moved to fourth place. Lenovo has also made strong policy commitments, to jump from the bottom spot up to its current 8th place. Fujitsu-Siemens and Acer made substantial progress and are now ranked 3rd and 7th respectively, moving up from their earlier 10th and 12th positions.

LGE, Samsug and Sony have lost points for failing to act on their commitments to individual producer responsibility (IPR). Instead, the companies are supporting regulation in the U.S. that would place the responsibility for product recycling on consumers instead of producers.

In September 2006, HP was given a 'penalty' - one point was deducted from the company's overall score when Greenpeace scientists' analysis of an HP laptop revealed the presence of decaBDE, a type of brominated flame retardant that HP claimed it no longer used. HP was quick to respond with an investigation into the matter and has now released a statement on its website that reaffirms its commitment not to use decaBDE. The statement explains how decaBDE came to be found in the HP laptop and details what action has been taken to avoid similar problems in the future - at which point the penalty was lifted.

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