Greenpeace: Apple is green, but there's a greener smartphone maker

Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics 2017 give Apple a B- on its report card, ahead of the likes of Dell, HP, Samsung, and Amazon. But the top spot goes to a company you may not have heard of.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

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Greenpeace has published its Guide to Greener Electronics 2017, in which it looks at what 17 of the world's leading consumer electronics companies are doing to address their environmental impacts.

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Each of the companies is given a report card that considers three critical impact areas tied to product design and responsible supply chain management across the electronics sector:

  • Energy: Reduction of greenhouse gases through efficiency and renewable energy
  • Resource Consumption: sustainable design and use of recycled materials
  • Chemicals: Elimination of hazardous chemicals from both the product itself and manufacturing

Here are the scorecards of the companies listed:

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics 2017

A deeper breakdown shows why each company got the score it received (click to go to the report where you can get a deeper look at each of the companies listed):

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics 2017

Interestingly, the company that came out in front is a company that many might not have heard of -- Fairphone. Founded in 2013, Fairphone has the aim of developing smartphones that both have a minimal environmental impact, do not contain conflict minerals, engage in fair labor practices, and help extend the life of the device.

Behind Fairphone is the Cupertino giant, Apple. While Apple did better than Fairphone when it came to using renewable energy sources, and reducing the amount of hazardous chemicals used in the manufacture of devices, it lost ground when it came to resource consumption, extending the lifespan of devices, and sourcing reusable materials.

Seven of the companies listed -- Huawei, Asus, Samsung, Amazon, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi -- scored less than C's across the board, with Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi getting the lowest grades possible in all three categories.

"Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age. We know they can change. Rather than fueling climate change, IT companies need to show the way forward, just like Google and Apple have done with data centers run on renewables," said Gary Cook, Senior IT Campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

Greenpeace is challenging the IT sector to take responsibility for its rapidly increasing footprint on the planet by:

  • Shifting their supply chains to be renewably powered;
  • Reducing the cycle of constant consumption of more of minerals and other resources by designing long lasting products that use more recycled materials, and;
  • Detox their products and their supply chain by finding alternatives to hazardous chemicals.

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