Greenpeace has released its quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics since 2006, which ranks leading PC and cell phone manufacturers on their practices of eliminating harmful chemicals, their global policies, and on taking responsibilities for products once discarded by consumers.
In the most recent version, released in October 2010, Nokia and Sony Ericsson topped the industry as the greenest consumer electronics companies while Nintendo and Microsoft ranked at the bottom.
The guide ranks companies on two general areas: chemicals policy and practice (five criteria) and policy practice on producer responsibility for taking back their discarded products and recycling (four criteria). The companies are ranked from zero to 10, with 10 being greenest.
Nokia came in first place with a score of 7.5 out of 10. Overall, the Finnish electronics giant does best on the toxic chemicals criteria, followed by energy and does least well on e-waste issues. All of Nokia’s new models have been PVC-free since 2005, and the company also scores maximum points for its voluntary take-back program that spans 85 countries. However, Greenpeace advises that Nokia start using recycled plastics for more than just product packaging.
Nintendo ranked at the bottom with a score of 1.8 out of 10. The Japanese gaming company scored the most points on chemicals as it now has game consoles on the market that have PVC-free internal wiring. However, it has not set a timeline to phase out the use of PVC altogether. Nintendo scored zero on all e-waste criteria (as in previous versions of the guide) and also failed to score points in committing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Greenpeace says the bottom line is for companies to clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances and to take back and recycle their products when consumers discard them. The environmental organization says that the use of toxic chemicals is not only hazardous to workers, but that these chemicals also contaminate communities and make it impossible to carry out safe recycling.
The guide is updated every quarter, so companies have the opportunity to score a better ranking by going greener.
The latest version of the guide can be viewed at greenpeace.org/greenerelectronics.