Greenpeace takes to CES to implore companies to manufacture greener electronics.
While CES attendees clamored to check out the latest in cosumer electronics, Greenpeace was on hand to share their third Green Electronics Survey. Simply put, the survey grades consumer electronic companies according to four criteria: use of hazardous chemical substances, power consumption, product lifecycle, and innovation and marketing and issues awards in a series of categories. The winners were the HP Compaq 6005 Pro Ultra-Slim desktop computer, Asus UL30A notebook, the Acer TM8172 netbook, the Asus VM-247H-HF monitor, the Samsung GT-S7550 (Blur Earth) mobile phone, the Sharp LC-52SE1 television and the Sony Ericcson Aspen smartphone.
In addition to awarding companies for their green efforts, Greenpeace also uses CES to champion other causes related to consumer electronics. High on Greenpeace's list of priorities is getting consumer electronics companies to stop using two hazardous chemicals in electronics manufacturing, polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFR). To this end their studies show that each year more companies stop using these chemicals.
Going forward, Greenpeace wants global, free and convenient e-waste programs as well as a complete ban on e-waste exports. According to Greenpeace, 40 billion tons of e-waste are produced every year and Greenpeace hopes to increase take-back programs where manufacturers take back used electronics free of charge to consumers. As it stands Dell and Nokia have the most extensive take-back programs.
For the survey, Greenpeace invited 20 companies to participate and 18 chose to participate. Apple and Philips declined to participate. Furthermore, they've recently added gaming consoles to the survey as well.
Apple is finding it extremely difficult to avoid being in Greenpeace’s cross hairs. Nearly a year ago, Greenpeace branded the iPhone as “toxic”. Now, the organization has flayed Apple’s pompous claim that its Macbook line of notebooks are the greenest there are.
The Macbook range of notebooks scored a highly disappointing 4.3 out of a possible 10 points on the organization’s green index. Greenpeace did laud Apple, though very frugally, for doing away with bromide flame-retardants and other toxic plastics. But it clearly believes that Apple should take more steps to substantiate its towering claims.
Greenpeace has put the ball in Apple’s court by asking it “to commit to phasing out additional substances with timelines, improve its policy on chemicals and its reporting on chemicals management.”
Straight out of the “yeah, they’re still doing that” file, Greenpeace has released this year’s Guide to Greener Electronics. Since last year there have been plenty of notable changes for the better, but even more for the worse. Nintendo’s score continues to plummet, and Greenpleace’s traditional enemy, Apple, has fallen to 14th.
Nokia comes in at the top spot with some notably high marks in the chemicals department, and sports and overall score of about seven over ten. According to the report, “Nokia scores very well on toxic chemical issues, launching new models free of PVC since the end of 2005 and aiming to have all new models free of brominated flame retardants and antimony trioxide by the end of 2009. “
Near the bottom of the scorecard is everyone’s favorite software giant, Microsoft, scoring only about three out of the ten possible points. “Microsoft remains in 17th position with an improved score of 2.9 points, which it earns mainly on the toxic chemicals criteria,” states the Report. “The company has committed to removing PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its hardware products by or before 2010, and phthalates by the end of 2010.”
While there have been some that have spoken of the absurdity of the report, thanks to Greenpeace’s use of manufacturer information instead of conducting their own research, there are some validity to the numbers (as far as we can tell). Feel free to check out the report and draw your own conclusions.