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Electronic companies slow to go green

Electronic companies slow to go green

Nokia scores highest for take-back programme, says Greenpeace report.

The latest Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics suggests most consumer electronics companies have been slow to tackle climate change. Despite much green marketing, many brands still show little engagement with the issue, according to the guide.

Since the first edition of the Greener Electronics Guide in August 2006, there have been gradual improvements on toxic and e-waste issues, but only a minority of companies are really leading on energy and climate change, according to Greenpeace.

Motorola, Microsoft, Dell, Apple, Lenovo, Samsung, Nintendo and LG Electronics are lagging behind, says the environmental organisation, with no plans to cut absolute emissions from their own operations and no support for the targets and timelines needed to avoid catastrophic climate change.

"Sadly it appears that the consumer electronics industry is much better at rhetoric than facing the reality that absolute emission cuts are urgently needed," says Greenpeace International Climate & Energy campaigner Mel Francis. "It's disappointing that such innovative and fast-changing companies are moving so slowly, when they could be turning the regulation we need on global emissions into a golden business opportunity."

To be green, electronics companies need to equally address energy, toxics elimination, and recycling. In the last three editions of the guide, the climate and energy criteria have assessed companies on their direct emissions, product performance, use of renewable energy and political support for emission cuts.

According to Greenpeace only three companies - Fujitsu Siemens Computers, Philips and Sharp - support the level of cuts in greenhouse gases that science requires. Only Philips and HP got top marks for committing to making absolute reductions in their own greenhouse gas emissions from the product manufacture and supply chain.

Many companies gain points from their products' efficiency improvements - half of the 18 ranked brands now score over five out of 10 in the guide. Nokia, which remains in pole position, sources 25 percent of its total electricity use from renewable energy and is committed to sourcing 50 percent by 2010. Other brands with points for renewable energy use are FSC, Microsoft, Toshiba, Motorola and Philips.

Those that score well on toxic chemical criteria already have products on the market that are free of the worst substances, including Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Toshiba, FSC and Sharp.

Overall, the biggest moves up the ranking are Motorola, (from 15th to joint 7th), Toshiba (from 7th to 3rd) and Sharp, (up from 16th to 10th). The companies falling down the ranking are brands Acer, Dell, HP and Apple.

Fairfax Business Media

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