Greenpeace protests outside Dell offices to continue

The environmental group is demanding that Dell provides its roadmap for phasing out harmful chemicals by a 2011 deadline

A protest action by Greenpeace in Europe and India against Dell may continue for many days, and be extended to the U.S. in the next stage, a spokeswoman for the environment group said on Monday.

Greenpeace wants, at the least, Dell to outline the company's road map to rid its products of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by 2011, said Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner at Greenpeace International.

"They don't have to put it on their Web site, but it would give us more assurance if they let us see it under a non-disclosure agreement," she said.

The environmental group is also demanding that Dell take a stand and lobby for the ban of PVC and BFRs in a revision of the European Union's RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics) Directive.

A legislative requirement to eliminate PVC and BFRs across the sector would level the playing field for all electronics companies, and bring down costs as there will be mass uptake from suppliers, Kruszewska said. It would also mean that a large number of electronics makers, which are not part of the 18 companies in the campaign to eliminate harmful chemicals, would have to accept the new norms, she added.

Greenpeace held protests outside Dell offices in Bangalore, Amsterdam and Copenhagen on Monday.

Officials at Greenpeace said that the environmental group planned the action ahead of a meeting on Monday at Dell headquarters in Round Rock, Texas. During the meeting company CEO Michael Dell is scheduled to discuss a variety of environmental issues including a road map for the transition to products free of PVC and BFRs.

"We will see what we could get today [from Dell], and that would determine how long our action continues for," Kruszewska said.

In Amsterdam, Greenpeace activists spread foam outside Dell's office to convey that Dell should eliminate toxic chemicals from its products, Kruszewska said. "Michael Dell drop the toxics" was a key slogan at the protests in Bangalore.

A Dell spokeswoman in Bangalore said she was unaware of the meeting in Texas. The company stands by its commitment to rid its products of PVC and BFRs in their products by 2011, she added.

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