Samsung = Broken Promises

Greenpeace climbers expose Samsung’s toxic broken promises

Press release - March 3, 2010
BRUSSELS, Belgium — Greenpeace climbers today scaled the Benelux headquarters of the Korean electronic giant Samsung, sticking the message “Samsung = Broken Promises” in giant letters onto the front of the building. The peaceful protest is challenging the company for breaking its promises to eliminate key toxic substances from its products.

In June 2004, Samsung was the first company to publicly commit to eliminate PVC and Brominated Flame Retardants (BFRs) from new models of all its products. In 2006 Samsung committed to phasing our BFRs from its products by the start of 2010 and in 2007 it committed to a deadline of end 2010 for the phase out of PVC. (1) Both moves saw the company gain points and position on Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics (2).

"When a company breaks its promises then it amounts to betrayal to the consumers. Samsung, being a leader of consumer electronics market, has given a wrong signal to the public." said Greenpeace  India Toxics Campaigner Abhishek Pratap "If Indian company Wipro can do it, then why not global giant Samsung take steps to phase out worst toxins. "

A delay in removing hazardous substances needs to be clearly communicated with valid reasons: as other companies ranked in the Greener Guide to Electronics have done, some even a year ahead of deadlines. In contrast, Samsung only admitted weeks before it was due to deliver new greener products that it would fail and break its promise. The latest version of the Guide penalises Samsung for this delay. Unless the company takes urgent action to meet its commitments, it will be suffer a further penalty in the next edition - the first company ever to do so.

During production, use and disposal, PVC is the single most environmentally damaging of all plastics, and can form dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burnt during sub-standard recycling practices. BFRs are highly resistant to degradation in the environment and are able to bio-accumulate (build up in animals and humans), can be released from products during use and can also form dioxins when burnt during the type of basic recycling practices commonly used in Asia and Africa.

"Samsung is lagging far behind in the mobile phone and PCs product range, not offering a single model that is even partially free of PVC and BFRs," said Iza Kruszewska "If Samsung is serious about its green intentions, it needs to play catch up with competitors like Nokia and Sony Ericsson and Apple. People are becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact of what they buy; Samsung needs to understand, what is good for human health, and for the environment is also good for the company's bottom line."

A recent report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found that unless urgent action is taken, the e-waste crisis is set to worsen dramatically in developing countries (3).

Contact information

Abhishek Pratap- Toxics Campaigner Greenpeace India, +919845610749

Shashwat Raj- Media Officer Greenpeace India, +91 9686861974

Iza Kruszewska, Toxics Campaigner Greenpeace International + 44 780 121 2992,

Martin Besieux, Toxics Campaigner Greenpeace International + 32 496 161585,

Notes to Editor