Greenpeace tells Philips: Implement full, functioning e-waste takeback service in India now

Press release - August 7, 2008
MUMBAI, India — Greenpeace activists, carrying boxes on their head to symbolically highlight Philips electronic waste (e-waste), revisited Philips' office at Technopolis Knowledge Park here to remind the company that given the looming e-waste crisis, India needs not a pilot project but a full and functioning e-waste takeback and recycling service.

Greenpeace activists stage a protest at the Philips office in Mumbai asking the company to immediately implement free, voluntary e-waste takeback service in India

Instead of taking cognizance of the gravity of the situation due to e-waste piles growing because of Philips' inaction, security persons manning the office manhandled, harassed three activists; hold them up; and then, handed them over to police.

Last month, Philips announced their intention to launch a pilot project in India in 2008, sometime in the next five months, without spelling out a definite plan of action for this project(1).

"This announcement is vague and grossly inadequate. The need of the hour is not to experiment with a pilot project, but to follow the practice of brands that have embraced the principle of IPR (Individual Producer Responsibility) by accepting full responsibility for their respective end-of-life products," said Abhishek Pratap, Greenpeace Toxics campaigner.

Other brands like HCL and Wipro have already made the move and, thereby, shown that it is indeed possible to run a nationwide voluntary, free and effective takeback programme.

In the latest version of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, Philips scored zero on all the e-waste criteria; it even received a penalty point for taking contradictory positions on the issue of IPR for lobbying against IPR in the US. . (2)

As a first step, Philips should voluntarily set up credible take-back systems in all countries where its products are sold, and in particular in Russia, India, Argentina and Thailand. These countries are currently discussing future national e-waste legislation, so now is the ideal time for Philips to take the lead by supporting, through its actions as well as its policies, the principle of IPR.

Philips stands out by publicly stating that recycling is a shared financial responsibility for the customer, government and the producer. According to Philips, consumers should pay for recycling through a visible fee levied on sales of new products. (3)

Philips is lobbying against legislation that would make companies directly responsible for the costs of recycling their own branded products. As a result, the status quo of toxic product design, which hampers recycling, is maintained (4).

"We are here to demand that Phillips starts a pan-Indian free, voluntary takeback service immediately," said Abhishek Pratap. "This is a pre-action that Philips could initiate to indicate its policy shift towards support for IPR."

Takeback services will encourage producers to phase out the use of toxic substances in their products at the design stage, thus allowing for safer recycling and reduced end of life costs for the companies. Greenpeace is demanding that all electronics producers take full responsibility for their own-branded e-waste on a global level, by ensuring that it is properly recycled or disposed of.

For further information, contact

Ramapati Kumar, Toxics Campaigner 09845534414
Abhishek Pratap, Toxics Campaigner 09845610749
Saumya Tripathy, Greenpeace Communications 09343862212

Notes to Editor

(1) After Greenpeace met with the CEO of Philips global on 10th June at Amsterdam, The Netherlands and its representative at Mumbai, India, an announcement was made by Philips 15th July 2008 that it would initiate some voluntary takeback pilot projects. http://weblog.greenpeace.org/makingwaves/archives/2008/07/philips_takes_baby_steps_on_re.html

(2) Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics version 8th
http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/toxics/electronics/how-the-companies-line-up
In the US Philips is a member of a coalition of companies that lobby actively against individual producer responsibility. In June 2008 Philips submitted a position paper to the European Commission asking for lifting the IPR clause from the WEEE Directive.

(3) Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V. Sustainability Report 2006, page 55
http://www.philips.com/shared/assets/Downloadablefile/Sustainability-Annual-Report-2006(2)-16090.pdf
http://www.philips.com/shared/assets/Downloadablefile/Sustainability-Annual-Report-2006%282%29-16090.pdf>

(4) In 2006, Philips put at least 13 million television sets on the global market, making it the third largest TV manufacturer in the world. Its products potentially represent at least 400,000 tons of e-waste once they become obsolete.

The calculation was made on the basis of original data by research firms iSuppli and DisplaySearch, accessed via:

EDN, 2007. "Top TV makers retain market lead as consumers embrace LCD sets" 9/25/2007. And, DIGITALHOME, 2007. Samsung is global television leader for 2006. 16/2/2007.

The 400,000 tons of e-waste figure, is a calculation based on the average weight (Wt) per TV estimated, referring to a period of 20 years, by the United Nations University for the European Commission in the following Study: "2008 Review of the Directive 2002/96 on Waste
Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Final Report available via:
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/weee/pdf/final_rep_unu.pdf

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