While HP, Samsung and Lenovo made the biggest strides in developing ‘green’ products, Toshiba and Microsoft failed to act on past promises, according to the latest update of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics.
Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Philips held on to their No. 1, 2 and 3 rankings, respectively, for producing products free of the most hazardous substances, including PVC, brominated flame retardants (BFRs), antimony, beryllium and phthlates. HP and Samsung round out the top five green electronics companies.
As an example, Philips released the first TV free of PVC and BFRs. The Econova TV puts Philips on track to meet its commitment to phase out these hazardous substances by the end the year, well ahead of other TV manufacturers, says Greenpeace.
Greenpeace says new products free of PVC and BFRs have been released by Acer, Wipro, HCL and HP, which now has several lines of notebooks, desktops and a PVC-free printer. However, Toshiba, LGE, Samsung, Dell and Lenovo still have no complete PC product lines free from these substances.
Other winners include Samsung, which climbed to 5th place from 13th, despite retaining penalty points for backtracking on its commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRs, says Greenpeace.
Some BFRs, used in circuit boards and plastic casings, do not break down easily and build up in the environment, and long-term exposure can lead to impaired learning and memory functions, says Greenpeace. PVC plastic is used in some electronics products and for insulation on wires and cables, which release chlorinated dioxins and furans when the substance is produced or disposed of by incineration (or burning).
Apple experienced the biggest drop, from No. 5 to No. 9, not because it has lost any points, says Greenpeace, but because several other companies have overtaken it. LGE and Toshiba also dropped in the rankings, now at 14th and 16th place.
Several companies are in the penalty box. Toshiba received a second penalty point this year for misleading its customers about its commitments, and Microsoft earned its first penalty point for backtracking on commitments to remove these toxic substances. Several other companies also have penalty points for failing to meet their phase-out commitments, including LGE, Samsung, Dell and Lenovo.
The latest update also indicates that electronics manufacturers made the least progress in the area of waste and recycling. However, Panasonic is rewarded for initiating voluntary take-back and recycling of its TVs in India, the first program of its kind for TVs outside the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and another first for TVs, according to Greenpeace.
Here’s a link to the last update in May.