The theme of this quarter’s Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics is toxic chemical bans, and some companies have risen up to the challenge significantly better than others. Greenpeace’s quarterly ranking scores IT and consumer electronics companies based on chemical contents, recycling policies, environmental efforts, and energy consumption of products. This quarter marks a shift in the ratings landscape, with companies including Apple and Philips making prominent strides forward.
But Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, and Dell take note: you have a lot of work to do. All three companies reneged on promises to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFR), both toxic substances, from their products by the end of 2009.
Apple, on the other hand, won kudos from Greenpeace for following through on its promise to make all of its products PVC and BFR-free. The feat caused the company to jump an impressive four spots since last quarter’s rankings. Now all the company has left to do in the toxic chemicals arena is to eliminate PVC from its power cords.
Philips had the most dramatic surge upwards, rising from 15th place to fourth place thanks to public pressure (47,000 emails!) that forced the company to embrace recycling and product takebacks.
Nokia remains at the head of the class, scoring high marks for a cell phone takeback program that collects phones at nearly 5,000 locations and a commitment to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by a minimum of 10% by the end of 2009 and 18% by 2010. The company has also eliminated PVC use in its products and has committed to eliminating BFRs as well.
Next time around, we hope to see timelines from HP and Dell for eliminated PVCs and BFRs from their products. PVC-and BFR-free
components are more expensive than toxic components, but Greenpeace says that widespread adoption will drive prices down.