Greenpeace Touts Apple, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson for Green Electronics

Environmental watchdog group Greenpeace has released the 14th update to its Guide to Greener Electronics, in which it ranks major electronics and computer manufacturers in a set of environmentally-related criteria, including the sorts of toxic chemicals that turn up in their products, how the companies handle e-waste and product recycling, and the companies’ plans to green up their operations. In the past, Greenpeace has slammed consumer darlings like Apple, but the 14th edition sees the organization giving Apple higher marks—although Nokia and Sony Ericsson still earn the top spots.

Greenpeace Green Electronics Guide 14 banner

According to Greenpeace, Apple, Nokia, and Sony Ericsson are now ahead of the pack, in terms of offering product lines that are free of the most hazardous substances—although Hewlett-Packard has been making some progress and just announced its first business desktop completely free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardant (BFR). However, Greenpeace has penalized LG, Dell, Lenovo, and Samsung for failing to make good on promises to phase out toxins from their products—many companies that promised to green up their products by the end of 2009 are now pushing those goals back to 2011.

Overall, Nokia is out in front of the pack, with Sony Ericsson right behind. Toshiba is currently in third place, although Greenpeace is skeptical it will follow through on a promise to remove PVC and BFR from its products by April 1, 2010. Philips has landed in fourth place, while Apple jumped from ninth place to fifth.

The bottom of the barrel, according to Greenpeace, or companies like Nintendo, Lenovo…and Microsoft.

Greenpeace’s Guide to Greener Electronics has been criticized for merely tallying up public statements and promises from electronics manufacturers, rather than looking at what the companies are actually doing in their manufacturing and e-waste operations—for instance, Apple famously complained their poor earlier rankings were only because they didn’t bother blowing their own horn about environmental initiatives. Nonetheless, the Green Guide has served to focus some public and consumer attention on environmental issues surrounding consumer technology, and now many companies are trying to appeal to consumers on the basis of green and eco-friendly technologies.