Greenpeace gives Apple improving environmental marks; ranks Microsoft near bottom

Greenpeace first released their ‘Guide to Greener Electronics’ in August 2006. The guide ranks the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TV’s and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals and recycling. The guide is updated every 3 months.

The sixth issue of the Guide has been expanded to include televisions and game consoles. Market leaders Microsoft, Nintendo, Philips and Sharp enter at the bottom of the ranking of environmental performance with Nintendo being the first company scoring zero out of a possible 10 points. Philips and Microsoft performed little better, scoring only 2 and 2.7, respectively. Sony Ericsson has taken over the top spot from Nokia while Samsung and Sony have surged ahead to now occupy second and third positions.

Greenpeace’s list from best to worst:
7.7: Sony Ericsson – New leader due to improved takeback reporting, new models PVC free, but falls down on takeback practice.
7.7: Samsung – Big improvements, with more products free of the worst toxic chemicals. Loses points for incomplete takeback practice.
7.3: Sony – More products free of toxic PVC and improved reporting on recycling and takeback especially in the US.
7.3: Dell – Unchanged since the last version, still no products on the market without the worst chemicals.
7.3: Lenovo – Unchanged since the last version, still no products on the market without the worst chemicals.
7.0: Toshiba – Much improved on toxic chemicals but still lobbies in the US for regressive takeback policies.
7.0: LGE – Unchanged since the last version, need better takeback for products other than phones.
7.0: Fujitsu-Siemens – Unchanged since the last version, needs toxic elimination timelines, better takeback coverage and reporting of amounts recycled.
6.7: Nokia- A steep fall! Strong on toxic chemicals but penalty point deducted for deficiencies in takeback practice in Thailand, Russia and Argentina during our testsing.
6.7: HP – Finally provided timelines for eliminating worst toxic chemicals, though not for all products; needs to improve takeback coverage.
6.0: Apple – Slightly improved with new iMacs and some iPods reducing the use of toxic chemicals, takeback programme still needs more work.
5.7: Acer – Unchanged since the last version, needs better takeback coverage and reporting of amounts recycled.
5.0: Panasonic – Unchanged since the last version, need better takeback coverage and reporting of amounts recycled.
5.0: Motorola – Big faller due to penalty point for poor takeback practice in Philippines, Thailand and India revealed by our testing. Still no timelines for eliminating the most harmful chemicals.
4.7: Sharp – New to the guide – some plus points on toxic chemicals elimination but poor takeback policy and practice.
2.7: Microsoft – New to the guide – long timeline for toxic chemicals elimination (2011) and poor takeback policy and practice.
2.0: Philips – New to the guide – no timeline for toxic chemicals elimination and zero points on e-waste policy and practice.
0.0: Nintendo – New to the guide – first global brand to score zero across all criteria!

The ranking criteria reflect the demands of the Toxic Tech campaign to the electronics companies. Our two demands are that companies should:
• clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances
• takeback and recycle their products responsibly once they become obsolete.

The two issues are connected. The use of harmful chemicals in electronics prevents their safe recycling when the products are discarded. Companies scored marks out of 30 this has then been calculated to a mark out of 10 for simplicity. Each score is based solely on public information on the companies website. Companies found not to be following their published policies will be deducted penalty point in future versions of the guide.

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “DLMeyer” for the heads up.]

MacDailyNews Note: Apple plans to completely eliminate the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), brominated flame retardants (BFRs), and arsenic in its products by the end of 2008. Apple’s policy: Purchase any qualifying Apple computer or monitor and receive free recycling of your old computer and monitor — regardless of manufacturer. Apple’s holistic approach to recycling — encompassing a product’s entire lifecycle — includes extensive take-back programs that enable consumers and businesses to dispose of used Apple equipment in an environmentally sound manner. Since Apple’s first take-back initiative began in Germany in 1994, the company has launched programs in the United States, Canada, Japan, and throughout Europe, diverting over 34 million pounds of electronic equipment from landfills worldwide. Apple was the first computer manufacturer to entirely replace CRT displays with LCDs. Since 2006, all Apple products worldwide are compliant with the European Directive on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in electronics, also known as the RoHS Directive. More info regarding Apple and the environment here.


  1. That’s called, ‘A Charge To Keep,’ based upon a religious hymn. The hymn talks about serving God. The president’s job is never to promote a religion.
    –George w. Bush

    Washington, DC
    talking to a German newspaper reporter in the Oval Office

  2. The best way to “recycle” is to make products that remain useful for a long time. Macs remain relevant for much longer than Windows PCs. Old computers that are resold to new users are much better for the environment than computer that end up in the dump, no matter what “takeback practice” the manufacturer employs.

  3. Just read an article in, I believe it was, National Geographic, that discussed the issue of e-recycling. Many companies send old gadgets to China for recycling. There they use migrant workers to do the dirty work such as melting wires to recover copper. The entire area around the workshop depicted in the article is infested with cadmium, lead, and other heavy metals. The fumes from the smelting process are toxic. The workers are poor migrants who toil without protective gear or any kind of health care benefits. The cancer rate among these workers is tremendously higher than the average population. My point is that just because a company has an e-recycling program doesn’t mean they’re executing the program in an eco-friendly way. Just that they have a recycling program or take-back program isn’t the complete story.

  4. Microsoft contributes the worst because their OS is so crappy, bug ridden and slow that it makes people want to upgrade their computers prematurely.

    Then of course is the damage to office furniture caused by the monkeyboy CEO in charge.

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