Greenpeace has an updated guide for those of us who base our electronics purchases on a green scale. So if you’re going to upgrade your phone, Greenpeace has some new insight for you. However, the guide also makes it clear that even the greenest of electronics STILL don’t exactly make the grade.
The greenest electronic of them all is Sony Ericsson, and it barely gets a passing grade of 5.1 out of 10. It scores top marks on the chemicals criteria by banning antimony, beryllium and phthalates from all of its new models launched since January of this year. The company also scores by going PVC-free. But it has a pitiful recycling rate of 1% to 13%. Nokia once made it to the top of the Greenpeace Guide, but has since fallen in stature.
The Greenpeace guide ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and game consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change. Microsoft and Nintendo are at the lowest-end of the pack, ranking 17th and 18th respectively. Greenpeace cites Microsoft for its poor toxic chemicals criteria and weak support for recycling. Nintendo had the lowest score of all, earning 0.8 points out of 10 (which is actually higher than its last rating) mainly because it earned a big zero on e-waste criteria. Nintendo’s biggest problem may be its success. Nintendo wants to cut carbon dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases by 2% over each previous year, but an increase in business led to a 6% rise in C02 emissions in 2006.
Why do so many electronics companies rank so low? It’s because they don’t focus on the bigger picture. "Electronics giants pay attention to environmental performance on certain issues, while ignoring others that are just as important. Philips, for example, scores well on chemicals and energy criteria, but scores a zero on e-waste since it has no global take-back polices," said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International's toxics campaigner. Luckily, though, the guide covers more companies now than when it started so we can keep a broader eye on what progress, if any, the various companies make. Perhaps having a growing number of eyes scrutinizing their practices will get electronics companies more firmly on the green bandwagon.
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