In a new report, environmental activist group Greenpeace has ranked Chinese computer maker Lenovo as the most eco-friendly company in the technology industry, with the company leaping from near the bottom of the organization’s rankings to the top. And what about media darling Apple? Greenpeace still gives the Cupertino computer and consumer electronics maker extremely low marks.
Greenpeace’s study examines how large electronics manufacturers use toxic chemicals in their products and manufacturing processes, and looks at the companies’ actions to recycle products. Although Greenpeace isn’t quite willing to classify any technology manufacturer as “green,” it is pleased that at least some companies appear to be taking ecological considerations into account when formulating their policies…in part to improve their eco-friendly rankings. Companies are given a ranking from 1 to 10, with 10 being the most eco-friendly.
Greenpeace’s new rankings have Lenovo in first place (with 8 out of a possible 10 points) mostly because of the company’s extensive take-back program, under which the company will let customers return broken or obsolete Lenovo products in all the nations where its products are sold. “Given the growing mountains of e-waste in China—both imported and domestically generated—it is heartening to see a Chinese company taking the lead, and assuming responsibility at least for its own branded waste,” said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, in a statement. “The challenge for the industry now is to see who will actually place greener products on the market.” Lenovo didn’t earn any points for continuing to use highly toxic substances in manufacturing its products.
Finland’s Nokia came in second in Greenpeace’s survey (they were formerly in first place), with Sony-Ericsson, Dell, Samsung, and Motorola rounding out the top five. The bottom five? Toshiba, Sony, LG, Panasonic, and Apple—which came in with a score of 2.7, almost a full point less than number-nine Panasonic. Greenpeace scores Apple low for eco-friendliness for not setting a deadline for eliminating selected toxic substances from its manufacturing (such as brominated fire retardants, polyvinyl chloride, beryllium, and phthalates).
Apple—which also brought up the rear in Greenpeace’s rankings last year—has said that it disagrees with Greenpeace’s ratings criteria, and claims a strong environmentally-friendly track record. Nonetheless, Greenpeace has launched a “Green My Apple” campaign to pressure the computer maker to change its practices.