The larger electronics companies are getting increasingly aware of their ‘green credentials’, Apple for instance has been keen to tell us that each new product is increasingly more environmentally friendly than the last. But is this really the case?
Greenpeace’s latest report into the environmental friendliness of electronics manufacturers has shown promising progress, but some companies are refusing to take part – Apple and Philips are not providing data.
The organisation sent out questionnaires to 20 companies about the chemicals used in the productions of PCs, mobile phones, monitors and other computer equipment and received data from all but two, with Apple and Philips the only companies to refuse to provide data.
Asus was the greenest of the companies surveyed, topping the tables in the notebook computing list, Dell scored very poorly, with the most polluting netbook and the worst smartphone.
“Our survey shows that electronics manufacturers have made demonstrable progress over the past few years in producing products that are free of the worst toxic chemicals, more energy efficient and more easily taken back for reuse and recycling,”
Overall the industry has been speeding up the elimination of both polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants, as well as other toxic chemicals and power consumption by devices is being improved faster than expected.
However, companies are still failing in two key areas: product recycling and building devices that last longer. In addition some comapanies only provided very limited information – for example Lenovo only returned data on its monitors and not its extensive PC line.
So the bottom line is that companies are making some progress, but information is rather ‘selective’. One also wonders why companies like Apple are not taking part? Their employment history in China is poor, so perhaps they are not being as ‘up front’ on green matters for a reason?