Nonprofit environmental organization Greenpeace has rated mobile phone giant
Nokia highly for its eco-friendly policies, but gave low marks to Lenovo, Motorola and Apple, among others.
Greenpeace, which publishes the Green Electronics Guide every three months,
scores companies on their use of hazardous chemicals, recycling and take-back
policies. It uses information published by the companies.
Nokia scored highly for eliminating its use of polyvinyl chlorides (PVCs),
which are widely used but difficult-to-recycle plastics that cause the release
of dioxin, another toxin, when manufactured. The Finnish company plans to stop
using brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the start of 2007, Greenpeace said.
Lenovo, which took over IBM's PC business in May 2005, came last on
Greenpeace's list. The company has not committed to eliminating PVCs or BFRs or
defined a "precautionary principle," a set of guidelines governing actions that
could cause environmental damage, according to Greenpeace. The vendor also has
a limited take-back policy in some countries which Greenpeace called "partially
Lenovo disputed the findings, saying it offers recycling to all of its business
customers -- a service not detailed on its Web site. Lenovo has continued IBM's
Environmental Management System, a program that covers manufacturing and
product design, and is meshing that system with its own, pre-existing
environmental policy, it said.
"Lenovo meets or exceeds applicable environmental regulations globally, and we
don't believe Greenpeace's ranking accurately reflects Lenovo's environmental
record," the company said in a statement.
Apple also received a low score, appearing fourth from bottom of the list above
Acer, Motorola and Lenovo.
"For a company that claims to lead on product design, Apple scores badly on
almost all criteria," Greenpeace said.
Apple doesn't publish a list of regulated substances it uses in its products,
Greenpeace said. Apple has not released timelines for eliminating PVCs and
BFRs, and only sells a few peripheral items free of PVCs.
While Apple has take-back programs in place in some countries, it reports the
weight of recycled products and not the percentage of sales, Greenpeace said.
Apple received one positive mark, for not exporting e-waste, an issue for
developing countries that may mishandle hardware with toxic substances.
Apple said it disagreed with Greenpeace's ratings and criteria. The computer
company said it has eliminated cathode ray tube monitors containing lead from
its product lines along with cadmium and hexavalent chromium in manufacturing.
A small amount of mercury is used in Apple's flat-panel displays, as the
element is used throughout the industry for backlight lamps, the vendor said.
Apple is looking for an alternative.
None of the companies scored perfectly. Even first-place Nokia, for example,
doesn't release figures on the number of units it recycles, according to
Greenpeace. The vendor should also more clearly define its precautionary
principle, the environmental group said.
Other companies that scored well for their environmental policies were Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
The Greenpeace list is at