Lenovo greener but Apple remains rotten

Summary:Chinese manufacturer Lenovo has gone from being the least environmentally friendly technology company to top of the list in Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, but Apple still has a long way to go.

update Chinese manufacturer Lenovo has gone from being the least environmentally friendly technology company to top of the list of 14 in Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics.

The latest edition, published yesterday, is designed to help consumers and businesses gauge how green tech companies are. Rather than focusing on recycling, environmentally conscious customers should focus on the toxic chemicals used by tech suppliers, Greenpeace claimed.

The guide ranks Lenovo as number one out of 14 global manufacturers and the most improved. According to Greenpeace, Lenovo has made "progress on all criteria but lost points for not having products free of the worst chemicals on the market yet."

Greenpeace cited improvements in Lenovo's position on Precautionary Principle and Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) as well as providing global takeback and recycling services wherever its products are sold as main factors for the Chinese company's performance. However, it still failed to score any points for providing models on the market that are free of PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) and BFRs (brominated flame retardants).

"We realise that continual improvement of our environmental performance is a long term commitment, and we are focused on taking the steps necessary to be a leader in this arena," Lenovo director of environmental affairs, Mike Pierce, said in a statement today.

Iza Kruszewska, an international toxics campaigner for Greenpeace, said Lenovo has made considerable progress in just the past six months to jump from the last position to the lead spot in the ranking.

"Lenovo's performance challenges others in the industry to keep setting the pace for environmental progress," Kruszewska said.

In the first edition, published in August 2006, Lenovo was ranked last out of 14 companies. It climbed to eighth place in the second edition (December 2006).

Apple, on the other hand, is languishing in last place.

Last August, when the company was ranked eleventh on the list, a representative for Apple disagreed with Greenpeace's rating and the criteria it had chosen. "Apple has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, as well as many BFRs. We have also completely eliminated CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors, which contain lead, from our product line," the representative then said.

When contacted today, Apple Australia spokesperson Fiona Martin stood by the company's previous claim, adding: "Apple desktops, notebooks and displays each score best-in-class in the new EPA [US Enviromental Protection Agency] ranking system EPEAT, which uses international standards set by IEEE [Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers]."

Andrew Donoghue of ZDNet UK contributed to this report.

Topics: Apple, Emerging Tech, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Reviews

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