Electronics companies have poor policy to combat climate change: Greenpeace's latest ranking guide

Feature story - June 25, 2008
BANGALORE, India — Out of the 22 electronics companies, only Sony-Ericsson and Sony score above 5/10 in the latest version of the Greenpeace Ranking Guide to Greener Electronics, while the overall score on global scale has plummeted as Greenpeace tightens requirements on electronic waste (e-waste)and toxic chemicals, and adds new requirements for evaluating companies’ impact on climate change. HCL continues to lead Indian electronics companies.

The Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics ranks leading mobile phone, game console, TV and PC manufacturers on their global policies and practices on eliminating harmful chemicals, taking responsibility for their products once they are discarded by consumers and their impact on the climate.

The newly-added energy criteria (1) require companies to show their political support for global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the post Kyoto political process. Companies must also commit to absolute reductions in GHG emissions from their own operations.

Sony Ericsson stands out as the first company to score almost top marks on all of the chemicals criteria (3). With all new Sony Ericsson models being PVC-free, the company has also met the new chemicals criterion in the ranking, having already banned antimony, beryllium and phthalates from models launched since January 2008. The best performers on energy efficiency are Sony Ericsson and Apple, with all of their models meeting, and many exceeding, Energy Star requirements.

"Sony-Ericsson, even though leading the race, has abysmally performed in e-waste management like many other global brands. Brands like LG, Panasonic, Phillips, Sony, Sharp, Toshiba and Samsung even do not have any take-back system in India," said Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace India toxics campaigner.  "Despite being ahead in the race among Indian companies, HCL has failed to address energy efficiency concern where as, Wipro, after its initial eagerness, has failed completely on all fronts to move forward," commented Abhishek.

Many companies score well on energy efficiency as their products comply and exceed Energy Star standards, but most of these take a limited view of this by only focusing on the energy efficiency of their products (2) rather than including the production process. The Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector currently accounts for 2% of global GHG emissions (3), equal to the aviation industry. As one of the most innovative and fastest growing industries, Greenpeace expects the sector to take leadership in tackling climate change by reducing both their direct and indirect climate carbon footprint "Greenpeace aims to show which companies are serious about becoming environmental leaders. We want them to race towards meeting the new criteria: phasing out other toxic chemicals, increasing the recycling rate of e-waste, using recycled materials in new products and reducing their impact on climate change," concluded Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics campaigner.

1. For full explanation of the new evaluation criteria, visit: http://www.greenpeace.org/electronics-ranking-criteria-explained 2. Fujitsu Siemens scores full marks on the requirement to support global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. Nokia leads the pack on renewable energy, already deriving 25% of its total electricity needs from renewable sources with a target to increase this to 50% in 2010. Philips used some 10% renewable energy in 2007 and intends to increase this to 25% by 2012. 3. "Green IT - Dealing With the New Industry Shockwave - Part 2" Gartner Presentation by Simon Mingay for Gartner Symposium ITXPO 2007, 20 - 23 November 2007 Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre, Australia 4. Energy Star is a joint United Stated Environment Protection Agency (USEPA) and the US Department of Energy programme setting energy efficiency standards for electrical and electronics products, more information at: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?fuseaction=find_a_product 5. Sony Ericsson stands out as the first company to score almost top marks on all the chemicals criteria, missing this target only by having unacceptably high threshold limits for brominated flame retardants (BFRs), meaning that many of its products are claimed to be BFR-free. Contacts Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace India toxics campaigner, 9845610749 Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, Mobile: +44 7801 212992 Brikesh Singh, Greenpeace India Climate campaigner 9880092210 Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications, 09343862212

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