Vendors shuffle up and down the green list

Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell have all lost points and Philips and Apple are among the companies jumping up the latest Greenpeace green electronics ranking that was published on Tuesday.

The ranking, which is published every quarter, scores the world’s largest consumer electronics and IT companies based on their recycling policies, environmental efforts and the chemical content and energy consumption of their products. It sits at the center of an ongoing campaign by the pressure group to get electronics companies to produce cleaner products and assume responsibility for them when they reach the end of their lives.

In this 10th edition the three major corporate IT vendors are all penalized for back-tracking on a commitment to eliminate PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of this year. PVC and BFRs can poison the environment and damage human health when disposed.

Of the three, Lenovo is now saying its products will be PVC and BFR free by the end of 2010, while both HP and Dell no longer have a stated timeline for eliminating them.

Taiwan’s Acer has also dropped its stated commitment to phase out the chemicals by the end of this year but wasn’t penalized as Greenpeace says Acer believes it can still meet the goal and is still telling supplies to phase out use of the chemicals this year.

Apple gained four places on the ranking to land in 10th place as it successfully made all products PVC and BFR free. However it didn’t score top-marks in this area because it uses “unreasonably high” threshold limits in counting the products free of PVC and BFRs, according to Greenpeace.

Nokia was again ranked top of the 17 companies in the survey. It scored top marks for a takeback program that collects used mobile phones at almost 5,000 collection points in 84 countries but was called to task on its recycling rate, which despite the wide takeback network is only as good as five per cent, according to Greenpeace.

It also gained points for committing to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by a minimum of 10 per cent by 2009 and 18 per cent by 2010, from a baseline year of 2006.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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