Greenpeace: IT companies fall short on 'green' initiatives

Vernadette T. Joven
31 Jul 2008

Only two companies out of 18 participants barely made it to the passing mark of the recent edition of Guide to Greener Electronics as Greenpeace tightened its requirements on electronic waste (e-waste) and toxic chemicals, and added a new energy criterion.

Sony Ericsson and Sony both tied at 5.1 getting the highest score for toxic chemical phase out but still lack on other energy issues. Tailing behind are Nokia, Samsung, Dell, Toshiba, Acer, Panasonic, Motorola, HP and Apple--who all got a score of 4, performing well on having products that are free of toxic chemicals but failing on e-waste, recycling, and energy efficiency. Other electronic companies such as Sharp, Lenovo, Philips, Fujitsu Siemens and LG all got a grade of 3, while Microsoft and Nintendo scored 2.15 and 0.8, respectively.

'In general, all companies fared low since they were not able to immediately cope up with the changes that we implemented for energy efficiency and renewable energy source and target,' says Beau Baconguis, Southeast Asia Toxic campaigner of Greenpeace.

Another factor for the low ranking is the new energy criteria, which require companies to show their support for global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions not only for their products but for their production process as well. 'As one of the most innovative and fastest growing industries, Greenpeace expects the ICT sector to take leadership in tackling climate change by reducing both their direct and indirect carbon footprint,' Baconguis notes.

Although companies reasoned that they found it hard to seek an alternative for the toxic chemicals that they use for their products, Baconguis remains positive that they can do it. 'We really believe that they can come up with products that do not contain toxics; it really depends on their product research and design team to make it happen.'

Given the pour performance of the majority of the electronic companies, Greenpeace plans to give them more time to comply with the new set of requirements before making some more additions to the existing criteria, which include phasing out other toxic chemicals, increasing the recycling rate of e-waste, using recycled materials in new products, and reducing their impact on climate change.

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