High time for Hi-Tech to clean up.

Feature story - July 11, 2006
It’s a strange anomaly. A company that claims to be ‘future-active’, an innovator and a market leader, seems to have contracted temporary amnesia when it comes to doing their bit for the environment. How else would you explain the fact that Wipro, a company that positions itself as a company with a conscience, seems to have conveniently forgotten a promise they made to us (and to the public) nine months ago.

Young workers at an e-waste recycling yard in Delhi.

In September of last year, we had taken the problem to Wipro’s doorstep. Greenpeace India activists called upon the Bangalore headquarters of the iconic brand Wipro with 500 kilos of their e-waste, asking the company to ‘Apply Thought’, adopt Clean Production and put in place mechanisms to Take-Back their end-of-life products. Click here to read about that action.

Click here to read the related press release.

Ten weeks later, Wipro responded with a heartening enthusiasm for positive change, and agreed that a roadmap on phasing out toxic chemicals was indeed necessary. In a meeting with Greenpeace campaigners, senior Wipro officials committed to creating a road-map for 'Clean Production' within the next six months, and assured us that in the meantime they would set up systems to ensure they take back their e-waste.

That was nine months ago. Now Wipro’s time is up. We’d like to know what’s taking them so long, especially in light of the fact that IT industries and governments all over the world are recognizing that e-waste is a problem that is spiraling out of control, and doing something about it.

One week before Wipro’s AGM, we 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. 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.


Sustained campaigning from Greenpeace 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.


The times, they are a-changing

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.  Click here to see the toxics in your PC

 “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,” says Vinuta Gopal, Toxics Campaigner at Greenpeace.


Greenpeace is demanding that Wipro take responsibility for its products, for the entire life-cycle of each product. 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.


Do your bit for the campaign

As a consumer and a concerned citizen, you have the power to make Wipro change. Call Mr. Azim Premji at Chairman and Managing Director of 080-28440251 or WIPRO Infotech at 080 – 28440011 extn 6462 (speak to Mr Ashutosh Vaidya – Vice President PC Division).