As consumers get more of an eco-conscience or simply come to realise that, more often than not, green can also be good for the wallet pressure will be brought to bear on manufacturers. None more so than in the tech industry, which is estimated to be responsible for two per cent of global CO2 emissions.
Greenbang, like many people out there, is an avid user and consumer of a variety of technology products – from laptops and PDAs to MP3 players and games consoles – and it doesn’t always feel too comfortable when you start to look at the environmental footprint of many of those products.
Which brings us to the latest Greener Electronics Guide by Greenpeace, which tracks and ranks manufacturers of mobile phones, TVs, computers and games consoles on their policies and practices on toxic chemicals, recycling and energy in an effort to get them to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products. Greenpeace has been producing the guide since 2006 and this latest one is the ninth edition.
So who’s hot and who’s not? Well, it’s tree-hugging pats on the back for Nokia, Samsung, Fujitsu Siemens and Sony Ericsson and Sony while at the other end of the table it’s an environmental wooden spoon for Sharp, Microsoft and Nintendo.
The Mighty Finn mobile phone maker Nokia came top, scoring seven out of 10 due to it’s take-back practice in India, Samsung is top-scorer on the energy efficiency of its products and comes second with 5.9 points, Fujitsu Siemens takes third place with 5.5 points having set a 2010 deadline for eliminating toxic PVC plastic and all Brominated Flame Retardands (BFRs) across its product range and Sony Ericsson and Sony take fourth and fifth respectively.
Following the lead set by Sony Ericsson and Nokia, Apple has also announced its new line of iPods will be free of BFRs, PVC and mercury. Apple is also committed to a complete phase-out of PVC and BFRs from all of its products by the end of 2008, but gets marks deducted by Greenpeace because of “built-in obsolescence” of the new iPods, with the high costs of replacing a battery encouraging people to ditch them and buy a new one instead.
Greenpeace says Apple also needs to improve its record on recycling and climate policy and should introduce a free, global recycling scheme like rivals such as Dell.
The worst-scoring company on e-waste and recycling is Philips, penalised in the scoring for its “negative” lobbying on Individual Producer Responsibility in the EU – lobbying for the costs for responsible recycling of their obsolete and end-of-life products to be met by governments and consumers.
As a whole there are positive signs in the guide, with more companies now scoring above the halfway score of five out of 10.
All the rankings and full details are in the Greenpeace guide here.