Environmental campaign organisation Greenpeace has published its latest study of the green credentials of electronics manufacturers, including makers of PCs and mobile phones, as well as Microsoft, which came near the bottom of Greenpeace's latest Guide to Greener Electronics.
Microsoft, which makes most of its revenues from software, fared poorly due to the Xbox games console and Zune media player, said Iza Kruszewska, a Greenpeace International campaigner who contributed to the guide. "Microsoft doesn't give information to [US] consumers on what to do with discarded products," said Kruszewska. "Yes, Microsoft doesn't make too much hardware, but you'd expect a brand name like Microsoft to score better," she added. Another contributing factor was that Microsoft has no figures on the amount of its products that it recycles.
Samsung and Toshiba came out joint top of the league table. Both companies scored well on corporate environmental principles and aims, as well as on the quantity of their products that they take back and recycle. "We look at principles, take-back and chemicals management," said Kruszewska.
Both Samsung and Toshiba did well at beginning to curb the use in their devices of PVC and brominated flame retardants, which make it almost impossible to recycle components, said Kruszewska. They also led the pack in the amount of products they recycle as a percentage of past sales; Samsung claimed it had recycled five percent by weight, while Toshiba claimed it had recycled 12 percent.
Nokia came third, after having previously topped the list, conceding penalty points for poor "take-back" practices in Russia and India.
At the bottom of the list languished Nintendo, due in part to the lack of publicly available information about its environmental policy, said Kruszewska. Second from the bottom came Philips, mainly as a result of its continuing use of cathode ray tube technologies in televisions.
Kruszewska added that Philips was a member of the Electronic Manufacturers Coalition for Responsible Recycling, which advocates consumers paying a fee for the recycling of products rather than manufacturers being held responsible for devices at the end of their useful lives.