Apple flunks green tech test

Apple hits rock bottom on a list compiled by Greenpeace that ranks 14 major electronics manufacturers in terms of their green credentials.
Written by Gemma Simpson, Contributor
Apple hits rock bottom on a list compiled by Greenpeace that ranks 14 major electronics manufacturers in terms of their green credentials.

Greenpeace's quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics is designed to help consumers and businesses gauge how green tech vendors are when planning a purchase.

The guide ranks 14 leading mobile and PC manufacturers on their policies and practices for eliminating harmful chemicals and taking responsibility for products discarded by consumers, with each score based solely on public information on the company's Web site.

Apple in particular has attracted the ire of the environmental action group for failing to provide information on its green policies for eradicating toxic chemicals and for poor recycling rules.

The Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics said Apple withholds its full list of regulated substances, provides no timelines for eliminating toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and no commitment to phasing out all uses of chemicals called brominated flame retardants (BFRs).

The guide added: "Apple performs poorly on product take-back and recycling but it does report on the amounts of its electronic waste recycled."

The Greenpeace 'Greener Electronics' rankings

1. Lenovo
2. Nokia
3. Sony Ericsson
4. Dell
5. Samsung
6. Motorola
7. Fujitsu-Siemens
8. HP
9. Acer
10. Toshiba
11. Sony
12. LG Electronics
13. Panasonic
14. Apple

An Apple spokesperson said in a statement: "We disagree with Greenpeace's rating and the criteria they chose."

The spokesperson added the Mac maker has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as many BFRs, and has also completely eliminated monitors that contain lead from the product line. Lenovo shunted Nokia from the top spot in this quarter's report - the Chinese PC maker was placed last when the Greenpeace guide was originally launched in August 2006.

The reasons for Lenovo's rise in the rankings include the company's target for eliminating the use of PVC chemicals by 2009 and the global provision of return and recycling services wherever its products are sold, the guide revealed.

Lenovo also reports the amount of electronic waste it recycles as a percentage of its sales but the company has yet to put products on the market that are free of the worst chemicals, according to the guide.

Nokia is doing well on the harmful chemical stakes: since the beginning of the year it has eliminated PVC from new models of mobiles and launched the first phones without any components containing BFRs, the guide revealed.

But the mobile maker lost points for failing to provide timelines for the elimination of PVC and BFRs from its entire product portfolio--including network equipment, the guide added.

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