Greenpeace highlights Apple, Lenovo rise

Latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics shows companies improving all round in green awareness and action

The computer business can give itself a pat on the back this week as it is congratulated in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics for the work it has done to clean up its act.

According to the guide, which was published on Wednesday, there has been an overall improvement in just about every area, from the use of recycled materials to improvements in power use.

"We've been happily surprised at how quickly many corporations have risen to the competitive challenge," said Greenpeace in a statement. "It's especially rewarding to see more than a few CEOs openly vying for the top green spot, and challenging their competitors to adopt industry-wide policies to reduce the problem of e-waste."

Once again Nokia led the way with the top rating of eight out of 10, up from seven last year. The big change was that Dell, which last year was equal with Nokia, this year slipped relative to the phone company but still improved its rating from seven to a shade under 7.5 and was clear second.

The company in third place, Lenovo, made better progress than any other company. It hauled itself from dead last 2006 to 7.3, pitching it second equal with Dell.

How did the Chinese manufacturer achieve this miracle? "Lenovo's support for precautionary policies and legislation making producers responsible for their products at the end of their lifetime mean high marks for them," said the Greenpeace report. "In the April version of the ranking Lenovo scored higher points for a global takeback policy."

But the company still has some issues, the report said. "Our investigation of the implementation of this policy in practice reveals incomplete implementation," it said, indicating that Lenovo still has room for improvement.

The other big winner was Apple. Greenpeace attacked Apple, along with Lenovo, last year over their heavy use of toxic chemicals in the production process. This year it highlighted Apple's shift on the Greenpeace scale from just over three to just over five. Still room for improvement perhaps, but Greenpeace was happy to congratulate Apple's chief executive, Steve Jobs, on the progress.