Electronic giants failing to go green

Toshiba, Samsung and Dell acquire penalty points in Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics

Press release - May 27, 2010
Version 15 of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics (1) sees Samsung, Toshiba and Dell, all picking up penalty points for backtracking on their self proposed timelines to eliminate some of the worst toxic substances from their products. The poor performance of these companies is in contrast to their competitors like Apple and HP who are making real progress by offering their customers a range of greener electronics (2).

Guide to Greener Electronics ranking at a glance

The latest Guide was launched at a press conference in Japan today, as former frontrunners, Toshiba drop from 3rd to 14th position and Samsung from 7th to 13th with their new penalty points for failing to meet their commitment to phase out PVC and BFRs (3) from their supply chain.

"These industry giants cannot claim to be green until they follow through on their commitments to eliminate substances from their products that are harmful to the environment and public health," said Beau Baconguis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner. "Companies that are still using PVC and BFRs in their products need to follow the lead of Apple, HP and Indian brands HCL and Wipro who are phasing out these toxic chemicals."

On the upside, the Guide also showcases environmental leadership within the electronics industry by an alliance of companies, for going one step beyond elimination of hazardous chemicals to using their considerable influence to advocate for legislation to eliminate the future use of these toxic chemicals.

"It's encouraging to see several companies grasping the urgent need for legislation that would enable the complete removal of these substances(4), and are pushing for it," said Baconguis.

The climbers in this edition of the Guide are Panasonic at 6th place up from 10th, Sony up from 7th to 6th (tied with Panasonic), HP up from 11th to 8th and Sharp from 13th to 9th.  LGE falls from 6th to 12th position, losing points for poor reporting on the energy efficiency of its products. LGE's reporting of its latest Energy Star standards has been disregarded by Greenpeace as the company was criticised by regulatory authorities for twice manipulating these efficiency standards to its benefit.(5)

"By committing to phase out timelines and acting on them some companies have made progress towards a greener future for electronics. Now all companies need to make this an industry wide reality by keeping their word and delivering PVC and BFR free products to the markets en masse and on time" said Baconguis.

VVPR info: Beau Bacongis, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics Campaigner, +63 917 871 5257 JP Agcaoili, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Media Campaigner, +63 917 631 2750

Notes: 1. The 15th Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics is available at http://www.greenpeace.org/rankingguide 2. While Toshiba, Dell, Lenovo, LGE and Samsung have broken their promises to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products, competitors Hewlett Packard and Apple continue to manufacture products free of these toxic substances, showing that it can be done and be done at a competitive cost. 3. PVC and BFRs are highly toxic, and can release dioxin, a known carcinogen, when burned. With the growing tsunami of electronic waste being shipped to developing countries for open burning, workers who deal with e-waste are at the most significant risk for health impacts. Eliminating these substances will decrease exposure to workers and consumers and will increase the recyclability and reusability of electronic products. 4. Greenpeace wants consumer electronics companies to join companies such as Sony Ericsson, HP, and Acer who are actively lobbying for PVC and BFRs to be banned in the EU’s revised RoHS Directive. http://www.rohs.gov.uk/ 5. http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010/03/lg-under-the-gun-for-cheatingon-energy-efficiency-testing.php