SINGAPORE Greenpeace gave a relatively positive assessment of the environmental practices of major electronics manufacturers in a report, saying most had taken significant steps in recent months to clean up their products and operations.
The group said that 12 of the 14 companies listed in its most recent "Guide to Green Electronics" scored five or more out of a possible 10 points for their environmental policies, "signifying an industry-wide improvement" since it began producing the quarterly report in August 2006.
The report grades firms on their efforts to phase harmful chemicals, such as toxic polyvinyl chloride (PVCs) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), out of the manufacturing process and initiate takeback or recycling schemes for end-of-life electronics.
Nokia ranked first in the category of working to eliminate hazardous substances from new mobile models, though Greenpeace said the company needs to improve its recycling system reporting. The phonemaker was followed by Dell, Lenovo and Sony Ericsson, all of which were praised for trying to find PVC and BFR substitutes and helping customers dispose of used products.
Sony languished at the bottom of the poll, a drop from fifth place when the first edition of the guide was released. Greenpeace noted that Sony had yet to introduce a timeline for the elimination of hazardous chemicals from its products and that the Japanese giant was practicing "corporate double standards" by supporting initiatives that forced producers to finance electronics recycling in Europe but lobbying for consumers to bear recycling fees in the United States.
LG Electronics, Hewlett Packard, Panasonic and Apple also received low scores from Greenpeace, largely for failing to explicitly support the concept of producer responsibility for the disposal or treatment of electronic waste.