HP, Lenovo and Dell break toxic phase-out promises

Press release - 31 March, 2009
HP, Lenovo and Dell see their scores drop in the latest edition of Greenpeace's 'Guide to Greener Electronics' ranking, released today. All three PC makers have been given a penalty point for backtracking on their commitment to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009.

Of the five PC market leaders, Apple and Acer are the only ones sticking to commitments to phase out these toxic substances. With the exception of one technical hurdle - achieving certified PVC-free power cords - Apple has already met its commitment to have all of its products free of PVC and BFRs by the end of 2008.

"If Apple can find the solutions, there should be no reason why the other leading PC companies can't," said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaigner. "All of them should have at least one toxic-free line of products on the market by the end of this year."

Dell produces a desktop, a notebook and several models of monitors that have a reduced use of PVC and BFRs, and a few monitor models that are free of these substances. Lenovo has two models available that are PVC and BFR-free. HP is trailing behind, and has yet to bring out models with even a reduced use of PVC and BFRs. While HP and Dell have yet to set a new timeline for completely eliminating these substances from all their products, Lenovo has delayed its deadline to the end of 2010.

The biggest change in the rankings is the big jump from 15th to 4th place made by Philips. Following pressure from Greenpeace, the company has significantly improved its position on taking financial responsibility for the recycling of its own e-waste, although it still needs to implement a system to effect this.

"When they are paying for the collection and recycling of their own products, companies like Philips will now have the added incentive to develop cleaner, more recyclable products because recycling costs are influenced by the amount of toxic chemicals present and how easy products are to recycle," explained Kruszewska. "Individual producer responsibility is crucial to the greener development of the electronics industry."

Despite an overall slump in scores in the toxics categories, companies are starting to improve their scores on energy criteria. ICT is a key sector in the fight against climate change and could enable emissions reductions of 15% of business-as-usual. Samsung joins Philips in publically demonstrating support for global steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to tackle climate change. Dell and Nokia join HP and Philips in making commitments to substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions from their own operations. Several companies are now increasing their use of renewable energy, with Nokia already sourcing a quarter of its electricity use from renewables.

"World leaders gather in Copenhagen in December to decide on the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol and the global steps to be taken to tackle climate change. With many powerful industrial groups lobbying against global regulation, the world's climate needs champions now more than ever," said Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International climate and energy campaigner. "Greenpeace's 'IT Climate Leadership Challenge'(3) calls on the IT industry to provide real solutions for the imminent threat of global warming. By turning climate change into a business opportunity and offering their top line support for a strong climate deal, companies who take the lead in this challenge will see a massive increase in their market share."

Other contacts: Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International toxics campaign:
+44 7801212992

Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International climate and energy campaign:
+31 653819121

Notes: Greener Guide to Electronics