Greenpeace Greener Electronic Ranking Shows How Actions Speak Louder Than Words for the Electronics Industry

Philips and HP introduce new transformative products, Toshiba and Microsoft fail to act on promises

The latest edition of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics shows significant separation between companies that are failing to keep their environmental commitments and those that are making significant gains in phasing out toxic chemicals, increasing energy efficiency, and making it easier for consumers to recycle older products.

Greenpeace applauds Philips for releasing the first TV free of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). The Econova TV puts Philips on track to meet its commitment to phase out these hazardous substances by the end the year, well ahead of other TV manufacturers.  

“There is a growing gulf between companies that are consistently innovating and leading by releasing greener products and companies that just make big promises,” said Greenpeace toxics campaigner Casey Harrell. “By launching a PVC- and BFR-free TV, Philips has overcome the technical hurdles to removing these toxic substances from this product group – there is now no excuse for other TV manufacturers not to follow.“  

New products free of PVC and BFRs have been put on the shelves by Acer, the Indian companies Wipro and HCL, and HP, which now has several lines of notebooks, desktops and most recently a PVC-free printer. In contrast, Toshiba, LGE, Samsung, Dell and Lenovo still have no whole PC product lines free from these substances.   

Toshiba is served a second penalty point this year for misleading its customers about its commitments and a first penalty point is imposed on Microsoft for backtracking on commitments to remove these toxic substances. Several other companies continue to be weighed down by penalty points for failing to meet their phase out commitments, including LGE, Samsung, Dell and Lenovo.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson remain well ahead in 1st and 2nd place for producing products free of the most hazardous substances, including PVC/BFRs, antimony, beryllium, and phthlates. HP, Samsung and Lenovo are the biggest climbers in this edition. Samsung climbs to 5th place from 13th, despite retaining a penalty points for backtracking on its commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRs.   

Apple takes the biggest drop, not because it has lost any points but because several other companies have overtaken it. LGE and Toshiba, both previously amongst the leaders, now take 14th and 16th place, showing that in this fast moving and innovative  sector that standing still is just not good enough

Although scores on Waste and Recycling show the least progress overall, Panasonic is rewarded for initiating voluntary take-back and recycling of its TVs in India, the first programme of its kind for TVs outside the OECD and another first for TVs. However, the industry as a whole is failing to expand current take-back programmes to achieve global reach.

“Panasonic is stepping up to the challenge of taking responsibility for its end-of-life TVs – but further company initiatives to take-back and recycle e-waste outside the rich world are desperately needed; Panasonic’s programme could jump start this process,” said Harrell. “These encouraging developments on both greener products and e-waste are welcome; its unfortunate that they also highlight the lack of ambition of those that lag behind.”

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