As technology companies jostle for attention at the Consumer Electronics Show
(CES) , Greenpeace's newest edition of the Guide to Greener Electronics,
released at CES, cuts through the greenwash. Apple, Sony Ericsson, and Nokia
lead the way for introducing products free of the worst hazardous substances
with HP following just behind.
Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and LGE pick up penalty points in the Guide (1) for
failing to follow through on a promised phase-out of toxic chemicals in their
products. The majority of the companies in the Guide had pledged to remove toxic
PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) (2) from their product
range by the end of 2009, which would have meant a greater show of greener,
toxic-free products for visitors to preview at the CES. But, for now, it's a no
show for these companies, who have delayed their phase-out to 2011 or
"It's time for a little less conversation and a lot more action on removing
toxic chemicals," said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International Electronics
campaigner. "Apple is leading and HP is playing catch up, but the lack of action
from other companies is ensuring that customers and the environment are still
Several companies see their scores reduced in this edition of the Guide, with
the bar being raised on hazardous substances. Having endorsed the precautionary
principle, companies now need to actively support bans on PVC, BFRs and
chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs) during the revision of the European Union's
Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electronics Directive.
"Companies need to support legislative bans to ensure a consistent phase out
of PVC and BFRs across all electronic products," said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace
International toxics campaigner. "Sony Ericsson and Apple are already calling on
EU institutions to support such a ban. Other big players, such as HP and Dell -
who have so far been silent - and Acer, need to ensure the ban is passed
in the European Union parliament."
Nokia leads the ranking with a score of 7.3. Sony Ericsson follows closely,
and is the only company to score full marks on all the toxic chemicals criteria.
In third place is Toshiba, but it risks losing points if it fails to meet its
commitment to market new models of all its consumer electronics products that
are free of PVC and BFRs by April 1, 2010. Philips comes in fourth place, while
Apple rises from ninth place to fifth.
Samsung drops dramatically from second place to a tied seventh place for
failing to eliminate BFRs in all its products by January 2010. With only its
latest models of mobile phones free of toxic substances, it has set January 2011
as the deadline for eliminating them from new models of its notebooks and still
has no definitive timeline for removing them from its TVs and household
appliances. Nintendo continues to languish at the bottom of the ranking.
"In 2010, we should see significant developments, with products free of PVC
and BFRs in the PC and TV markets," continued Harrell. "Any company failing to
achieve this goal is taking a big gamble with its green reputation. More
positively, it's good to see non-ranked companies beyond the PC and TV sectors,
like Cisco (3), committing to eliminate these harmful substances."