High Time for Hi-Tech to Clean Up

Greenpeace Challenges Wipro to Commit to Clean Production by AGM

Press release - July 11, 2006
BANGALORE, India — Greenpeace today issued a public challenge to IT giant Wipro and its Chairperson Mr. Azim Premji, demanding that they become the first Indian electronics company to tackle the growing e-waste crisis (1). Greenpeace called on Wipro to use the opportunity of their AGM on the 18th of July to announce a clear roadmap on phasing out toxic chemicals from their products.

Recycling yard workers continue their work in a narrow, open lane in Delhi.

Greenpeace, as part of its global Tox Tech campaign is working to ensure that the industry shifts to the production of clean electronic products which do not pose a threat to the environment or people. Sustained campaigning has already resulted in international market leaders like HP, Dell, LG Electronics, Samsung, Sony, Sony Ericsson and Nokia committing to eliminate some of the most hazardous chemicals from their products.


“It’s a shame that Wipro, who claim to be forward-looking, have completely ignored the serious health and environmental threat posed by toxics in their products. Global leaders in the electronics industry have shown that it is possible to phase out these substances. What is stopping Wipro from doing the same?” asked Vinuta Gopal, Greenpeace India Toxics Campaigner.


Governments worldwide are also recognizing that toxic contamination from e-waste is a looming environmental disaster, and are enforcing phase-out of toxic chemicals. On the first of July 2006, RoHS (Restriction on certain Hazardous Substances) a European directive, came into effect, banning the use of six deadly chemicals in electrical and electronic products. Japan has already phased out these chemicals; China is going to have a RoHS-like legislation in place from the 1st of January 2007. But Indian industry and Government remain woefully behind the times, with absolutely no legislation to regulate the manufacture and recycling of electronics products and ensure that they are free of hazardous toxics.


 “As the fastest growing IT industry in the world, the Indian electronics industry must decide whether it wants to be part of the problem or of the solution. If the present situation continues, we will face the ignominy of producing the dirtiest computers in the world, apart from having to deal with a toxic crisis of gigantic proportions,” said Vinuta Gopal.


Greenpeace is demanding that Wipro take responsibility for its products from cradle to grave. Wipro must announce a phase out policy that includes making its IT products RoHS compliant no later than the beginning of 2007, and take immediate steps to implement take-back and responsible recycling of their end-of-life products.

For further information, contact

Vinuta Gopal, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace India: +91 9845535418
Ramapati Kumar, Toxics Campaigner, Greenpeace India: +91 9845535414
Nayana Jayarajan, Media Officer, Greenpeace India: +91 9880821149

Notes to Editor

(1) “Every year, 20 to 50 million tonnes of electrical and electronic equipment waste (“e-waste”) are generated world-wide, which could bring serious risks to human health and the environment.” UNEP 2005 - “E-waste: the hidden side of IT equipment’s manufacturing and use.”
This deadly waste stream is loaded with toxic chemicals and heavy metals that cannot be disposed off or recycled safely. Men, women and children dismantle the e-waste manually in yards and workshops that are totally unregulated and under appalling conditions. Further, India is also a destination of choice for e-waste from the developed world that is illegally shipped into the country.

For more information: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics