HP, Dell and Lenovo rapped for broken green promises

PC makers Dell, HP and Lenovo have been criticised in the latest edition of Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics, after the environmental campaigner said they are breaking their promises to phase-out toxic chemicals in 2009.

Companies in the quarterly survey are scored based on their recycling policies, environmental efforts and the chemical content and energy consumption of their products.

Naughty and nice list

Greenpeace company rankings

Nokia retained its top spot in the latest ranking of 17 consumer electronics companies, after its new CO2 emissions reduction targets met with Greenpeace’s approval. Nokia was closely followed by Samsung, up two places, because of its “clear support for global climate change cuts.”

But most of the world’s largest PC makers dominated the bottom half of the table. Dell continued to drop places, and was even awarded a penalty point for breaking a commitment phase out of toxics by end 2009, as was Lenovo and HP.

Greenpeace said it had penalised the three for “backtracking” on their commitment to eliminate toxic vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the end of 2009. It did say that only Apple and Acer are sticking by their pledges to phase out the substances.

“For decades HP has been a leader in environmental responsibility and has adopted practices in product development, operations and supply chain that are transparent and help to reduce its environmental impact,” responded HP in a statement.

“HP will continue its efforts to develop new products and programs around the globe that help the company, its business partners and customers conserve energy, reduce materials use and reduce waste through responsible recycling,” it added.

“We share Greenpeace’s commitment to producing technology that makes the least possible impact on our planet,” said Markus Stutz, EMEA environmental affairs manager at Dell. “We remain very committed to proactively eliminating environmentally sensitive substances from our products, and we’re working closely with our suppliers to eliminate these chemicals from our products.”

“This commitment is genuine, and we do deliver some BFR/PVC-reduced products today,” said Stutz. “However, as there are no viable alternatives to many of the components used in our products which include these chemicals, we’ve adjusted our timetable for eliminating them accordingly.”

Nintendo once again remained firmly rooted in last place on the table, largely down to the fact that it doesn’t disclose much of the information that Greenpeace requires. Microsoft scored badly because of its bad performance on e-waste.

The mid table contenders saw Sony Ericsson down one place, with “more work to do on recycling”. Philips meanwhile was the biggest mover, up a impressive 11 places due to big recycling policy improvements. Sony moved up two places with “better product energy efficiency reporting”, while LG Electronics lost points for “delaying toxics phase out for all products”.

Toshiba also lost points for its poor CO2 reduction target and missing energy efficiency data, and Motorola was also down, one place, after Greenpeace said it needs to improve on waste and energy.

The bottom half of the table saw Sharp in an unchanged position after it gained point for its new US recycling scheme, but lost one point for weaker commitment on global emissions reduction. Apple moved up four places, with Greenpeace saying it was “good on chemicals elimination, improved on recycling, but still poor on energy.”

Acer dropped slightly due to poor e-waste scores, whereas Panasonic fell 3 places due to poor definition of precautionary principle and energy efficiency reporting. Greenpeace did not score Fujitsu Siemens Computers in this version as it will become Fujitsu from 1 April. Fujitsu will be evaluated in the next guide due in June 2009.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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