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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Greenpeace Keeps Pressure On

Environmental NGOs have increasingly seen targeting manufacturers and retailers directly as a more effective and faster way of driving change than regulation, or than regulation alone.  The latest edition of Greenpeace’s ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’, highlights the quite significant gap performance between the world’s top 18 electronic manufacturers.  Updated several times a year since 2006, the Greenpeace guide ranks the achievements of electronic manufacturers in eliminating hazardous substances from their products, as well as in take back and recycling and reducing the climate impact of their products and operations.

The latest edition reconfirms Finnish mobile technology manufacturer Nokia as the world’s ‘greenest’ electronic manufacturer, scoring 7.5 out of a possible 10.  Nokia ranks top in 10 of the 16 categories, and has done so for the last two years.  For the third time in a row, Japanese-Swedish mobile technology manufacturer Sony-Ericsson is hot on Nokia’s heels with 6.9. While Korean manufacturer Samsung enjoys the biggest improvement, jumping from position 13 to five, US giant Apple has had the biggest fall, slipping from fifth to ninth place.  As users of Apple products, we will be monitoring this carefully.

At the bottom end of the spectrum, Japanese video game manufacturer Nintendo continues to hold the unflattering last place with a score of 1.8, a position it has held ever since first being listed in December 2007.  Microsoft too is not scoring that highly with 1.9, sliding from 16th to 17th place as a result of troubles surrounding its commitment to phase out brominated flame retardants and PVC by end-2010.       

Used by a substantial and ever-increasing proportion of the world’s population on a daily basis, the environmental impact of electronic products cannot be underestimated.  As our throwaway society becomes ever more hungry for the latest gadget, the greening of electronics is an important step in addressing these issues.  We can only repeat Greenpeace’s question and ask “Who will be first to go [100%] green?”

Text: Filip Haugland/Kathryn Sheridan

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