Philips jumps, Dell sinks in green electronics ranking

By , IDG News Service |  Green IT, Apple, Dell

Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Dell have all lost points and Philips and Apple are among the companies jumping up the latest Greenpeace green electronics ranking that was published on Tuesday.

The ranking, which is published every quarter, scores the world's largest consumer electronics and IT companies based on their recycling policies, environmental efforts and the chemical content and energy consumption of their products. It sits at the center of an ongoing campaign by the pressure group to get electronics companies to produce cleaner products and assume responsibility for them when they reach the end of their lives.

In this 10th edition the three major corporate IT vendors are all penalized for back-tracking on a commitment to eliminate PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of this year. PVC and BFRs can poison the environment and damage human health when disposed.

Of the three, Lenovo is now saying its products will be PVC and BFR free by the end of 2010, while both HP and Dell no longer have a stated timeline for eliminating them.

Taiwan's Acer has also dropped its stated commitment to phase out the chemicals by the end of this year but wasn't penalized as Greenpeace says Acer believes it can still meet the goal and is still telling supplies to phase out use of the chemicals this year.

Apple gained 4 places on the ranking to land in 10th place as it successfully made all products PVC and BFR free. However it didn't score top-marks in this area because it uses "unreasonably high" threshold limits in counting the products free of PVC and BFRs, according to Greenpeace.

Nokia was again ranked top of the 17 companies in the survey. It scored top marks for a takeback program that collects used mobile phones at almost 5,000 collection points in 84 countries but was called to task on its recycling rate, which despite the wide takeback network is only as good as 5 percent, according to Greenpeace.

It also gained points for committing to reduce absolute CO2 emissions by a minimum of 10 percent by 2009 and 18 percent by 2010, from a baseline year of 2006.

Greenpeace is pressuring electronics makers to commit to not just reducing CO2 but doing so with absolute cuts like those pledged by Nokia. Several companies have committed to reducing CO2 output based on sales but that could still mean higher emissions if business is going well. Absolute cuts reduce output no matter how production changes.

Dell, while criticized for chemical use, was praised on the energy front for committing to reduce absolute emissions of greenhouse gases from its worldwide facilities by 40 percent by 2015, from a baseline year of 2007. It is also reported sourcing about 35 percent of its U.S. energy and 20 percent of global use from renewable sources.

Following Nokia in second place was Samsung then tied for third was Sony Ericsson and Philips. Sony and LG Electronics were tied for fifth place. At the other end of the ranking Nintendo was again ranked last with a dismal 0.8 points out of 10, largely because it doesn't disclose much of the information that Greenpeace requests so automatically gets a failing grade.

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