HP’s new toxic-free product, Apple opens up on carbon emissions

July 6, 2010

Encouraging news from HP and Apple shows their positive response to Greenpeace’s campaign for greener electronics.The 13th edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics rewards Hewlett-Packard for putting a PC on the market that is virtually free of PVC (vinyl plastic) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Only the power supply unit and cable still contain these hazardous substances.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace had staged protests at HP’s headquarters in Palo Alto, USA, and at its offices in China and the Netherlands, in response to the delay1 on the company’s commitment to eliminate these substances from its computing products, by the end of 2009. With the ProBook 5310m Notebook 2, however, it appears that HP has now re-prioritized its toxic phase-out commitment.

“HP has made the first step in catching up with Apple, which eliminated these materials from its entire product line almost a year ago,” said Greenpeace International’s Toxics campaigner Casey Harrell. “HP’s action now puts pressure squarely on its competitors to put more products on the market that are cleaner and safer.” 

Last week, Apple made public details of its carbon emissions, which should improve its score on greenhouse gas disclosure criteria in the next edition of the Guide. With rising environmental concerns of the global consumer, company transparency on these issues is no longer optional and the next logical step for Apple is to act on reducing its emissions.3

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 (4)  in all products by the end of this year. Toshiba has a timeline to phase out these toxic substances in all its products by the end of March 2010.

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. 

LGE plummets from 4th to 11th position, weighed down by a penalty point for backtracking on its timeline to eliminate PVC and BFRs in all its products by end of 2010 – now, only its mobile phones will be free of these toxic substances as of 2010, 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.

This edition of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics – 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,” said Harrell. “Only Philips, Acer and Samsung support the levels of cuts required to stem dangerous climate change.” 

Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics can be accessed at: www.greenpeace.org/rankingguide




VVPR info: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace USA Press Officer, 510.501.1779, email dkessler@greepeace.org Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, based in San Francisco Mobile: +1 415 307 3382, email: casey.harrell@greenpeace.org

Notes: 1. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/globalcitizenship/environment/productdesign/materialuse.html “As technologically feasible alternatives become readily available that will not compromise product performance or quality and will not adversely impact health or the environment, we will complete the phase out of BFR and PVC in newly introduced personal computing products in 2011”. 2. http://www.hp.com/hpinfo/newsroom/press/2009/090915xa.html 3. http://www.apple.com/environment/complete-lifecycle/ 4. PVC contaminates humans and the environment throughout its lifecycle; during its production, use, and disposal it is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, and can form dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burned. Some BFRs are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to bio-accumulate (build up in animals and humans). With the growth of electronic waste, workers who deal with e-waste and the wider community are at significant health risks. Burning of e-waste to recover valuable resources, as routinely takes place in the backyards of China, India and much of the South, can form dioxins. Eliminating the substances will decrease exposure and increase the recyclability and reusability of electronic products. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics/electronics/what-s-in-electronic-devices/bfr-pvc-toxic

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