Before you buy a new piece of computing or electronics equipment during the upcoming holiday or year-end IT budget blowout, you might want to consider what it will take to get rid of what you are buying three to five years down the road. Yep, Greenpeace is at it again, with the release of its latest Guide to Greener Electronics, which it releases a couple of times each year. There were two things that struck me in particular about this latest edition:
- The two companies on top, Nokia and Sony Ericsson, remain the same, but their scores were exactly the same as earlier this year. Nokia, with a 7.5 rating, is closest to Greenpeace's ethereal score of 10.
- HP was a big climber in the latest report, jumping up to 4th place from an 8th place rating in the version published earlier this year. It benefitted greatly from a decision to eliminate polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from many new products, as well as an updated commitment to cut up the use of beryllium and related compounds by July 2011.
Greenpeace's focus on these substances is related to the disposal implications associated with certain substances, which can leach into groundwater or the atmosphere. HP rose in the rankings not just because it has taken a stand on the materials I've mentioned, but because some of its rivals -- notably Toshiba, Dell, Lenovoa and Apple -- haven't been as quick to act.
Toshiba, in particular, got its hand smacked not only for missing its target date for bringing new PVC-free and BFR-free to market but for hiding that fact. Disclosure is a big deal for Greenpeace, apparently. Microsoft also got a penalty point for its failure to meet PVC and BFR elimination targets. Apple dropped to 9th place from 5th place, although it actually had the same score as in the May 2010 guide. Dell, which managed to increase its score slightly, was still in 10th place; it currently plans to eliminate PVC and BFRs by the end of 2011 from its computing products.
So, here's the thing: these ratings are always subjective and they are based on lots of different things. What I love about Greenpeace's take, though, is that it is bound to get attention. Which means something is bound to happen before the next edition is released early next. (There are usually three published each calendar year; this latest guide is No. 16.)