More electronic companies going green, says Greenpeace

Samsung Electronics and Toshiba knock Nokia off top green spot

While more IT companies are now taking significant steps toward going green, there is still a lot of work to do to protect the environment, says Greenpeace International, an environmental activist group.

During the release of the 7th edition of Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, Greenpeace Southeast Asia Toxics campaigner, Beau Baconguis, said that many companies are already at the 7/10 mark (with 10 as the highest 'green' score)--an indication that companies have already started moving toward green IT.

Asian electronics companies, Samsung Electronics and Toshiba, shared the top spot in the latest edition with a score of 7.7 out of 10. Samsung's consistency in its practices and policies kept the company score stable, while Toshiba climbed from the sixth spot through its improved score in Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR), which is the criterion on how each company takes care of the e-waste from its own discarded products.

The two companies surpassed mobile phone manufacturer, Nokia, who should have been on top with a score of 8.3 but was penalized because of shortcomings and inconsistencies in its take-back or collection. Baconguis said that, although Greenpeace has been seeing improvements in the take-back system of Nokia in the Philippines and Thailand, they could not lift the penalty, yet, because collection practices in India and Russia remain lacking.

The guide has also noted improvements in phone manufacturer Motorola's take-back and recycling operations in the Philippines, Thailand, and India, moving the company up from 14th to 12th position. Meanwhile, gaming company, Nintendo, with its score of 0.3 has not moved from last place since the previous Greenpeace survey released three months ago.

According to Baconguis, Nintendo has not responded to any of their queries so far so the company still has a lot of work to do. She notes, however, that Nintendo is one of the companies that they have just included recently (Greenpeace has only begun including TV sets and gaming consoles in its previous ranking guide released in December) so the company may still be taking some time to "warm up" to what the company is doing, unlike with the first 14 companies that have been included in the rankings since 2006, with whom Greenpeace has already been able to form "good relationships."

"Some of the game console and TV companies have already improved in the chemical criteria but there is still room for improvement in the e-waste criteria," said Baconguis. Since it was first launched, the guide has been ranking companies' policies and practices on toxic chemicals and electronic wastes as a challenge to electronic companies to 'green' their products; and leading consumer electronic brands have already undergone much improvements in their policies since then, said Greenpeace.

Baconguis said they will be expanding the study to include energy consumption next quarter, where they will rank brands against a new energy efficiency criterion to encourage the industry to reduce its carbon footprint.

"Most electronics brands are rising to the toxic chemical and e-waste challenge. It is now time to raise the bar and challenge the industry to take a holistic approach to its practices and operations," said Baconguis, adding that companies have to take responsibility for the entire lifecycle of their products. He said that if companies start their 'greening' activities in the first stage of the product lifecycle, then electronic wastes will be reduced, if not, nonexistent.

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Jenalyn Rubio

Computerworld

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