Greenpeace has moved Apple up its green electronics rankings thanks to Steve Jobs’ promises to phase out PVCs and other chemical nasties from its products. The company is now in 10th place in the league, it was previously at the bottom of the table of 14 consumer electronics companies.
Greenpeace takes an aggressive tone in criticizing electronics manufacturers for e-waste, stating: "The electronics ranking guide has been our answer to getting the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste. We want manufacturers to take responsibility for the unprotected child labourers who scavenge the mountains of cast-off gadgets created by our gizmo-loving ways."
Despite this, Apple scores higher in the new edition of Greenpeace's Green Electronics Guide, having apparently improved its ways since being ranked at the bottom of Greenpeace’s league.
Greenpeace also states: "We've been happily surprised at how quickly many corporations have risen to the competitive challenge. It's especially rewarding to see more than a few CEOs openly vying for the top green spot, and challenging their competitors to adopt industry-wide policies to reduce the problem of e-waste."
The top-ranked company is Nokia because, Greenpeace states, it has already phased out PVC, and met or exceeded a wide set of benchmarks Greenpeace has laid down to reduce the amount and toxicity of electronic waste piling up in Asia and Africa.
Dell and Chinese manufacturer Lenovo are tied for second place. Dell scores top marks for reporting its current recycling rate based on sales seven years ago, and for a strong global take-back policy for outdated gear.
Lenovo gets high marks thanks to its support for precautionary policies and legislation making producers responsible for their products at the end of their lifetime. In the third issue of the ranking Lenovo scored higher points for a global take-back policy. But Greenpeace's check of this policy in practice reveals incomplete implementation.
Sony is the biggest loser in this edition, languishing at the bottom along with LG, penalized for double standards on its waste policies.
Apple was the lowest-ranked electronics manufacturer in the last edition, but makes the biggest jump this time, into tenth place due, Greenpeace says: "to pressure from Apple fans around the world through the Green my Apple campaign."
It thinks Apple may start to rival other, greener companies if the much-awaited iPhone becomes the company's first truly greener product. Apple uses at least one of the same suppliers that currently provide Nokia, Sony-Ericsson, and other phone manufacturers with components free of PVC and brominated flame retardants.
Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace toxics campaigner, said: "Clearly, companies are racing to produce greener products. Steve Job's latest commitment to eliminate toxic materials, moved Apple up the chart and it now faces a challenge, with the iPhone, to meet customer expectations to be the environmental leader Apple-lovers want."
A scan of the report shows many missing IT suppliers: EMC; Google; HDS; IBM; Seagate and Sun to name a few. Having a Greenpeace nod of environmental approval could be considered a mixed blessing by them, as Steve Jobs might confirm.