Greenpeace's Higher Standards Harder to Attain

Of the 18 electronics companies evaluated in the 8th edition of Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics released on June 25, only two companies -- Sony Ericsson and Sony – scored above 5/10. The overall score of the ranked companies plummeted as Greenpeace tightened requirements on electronic waste (e-waste) and toxic chemicals and added new requirements for evaluating companies' impact on global warming.

The newly-added energy criteria require companies to show their support for global mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the post-Kyoto political process. Companies also must commit to reductions in GHG emissions in their own operations. Greenpeace expects the industries to take leadership in tackling climate change by reducing both their direct and indirect carbon footprint.

"Electronics giants pay attention to environmental performance on certain issues while ignoring others that are just as important," said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Toxics campaigner. "Philips, for example, scores well on chemicals and energy criteria but earns a zero on e-waste since it has no global take-back policies. Philips would score higher if it took responsibility for its own branded e-waste and established equitable global take-back schemes."

Many companies score well on energy efficiency as their products comply and exceed Energy Star standards. The best performers on energy efficiency are Sony Ericsson and Apple, with all of their models meeting and many exceeding Energy Star requirements. Sony Ericsson stands out as the first company to score almost top marks on all of the chemicals criteria. With all new Sony Ericsson models being polyvinyl chloride-free, the company also has met the new chemicals criterion in the ranking, having already banned antimony, beryllium, and phthalates from models launched since January 2008.

"Greenpeace aims to show which companies are serious about becoming environmental leaders," Harrell said. "We want them to race toward meeting the new criteria: phasing out other toxic chemicals, increasing the recycling rate of e-waste, using recycled materials in new products and reducing their impact on climate change."

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