The New York Times’ Green Inc. blog has a great history of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics and its effect on the industry. Check out Tom Zeller’s piece here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/business/energy-environment/11green.html?ref=energy-environment
BEST IN SHOW
Hewlett-Packard, which Greenpeace targeted last year for failing to meet its deadline for phasing out toxics in its products, deserves credit for the HP Compaq 8000f Elite Ultra Slim Desktop PC, the industry’s first Microsoft Windows based desktop to be free of brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) “from the wall to the mouse.”
WORST IN SHOW
Samsung, however, continues to trail behind industry leaders like Apple and Sony by not following through on its promised phase-out of toxic chemicals in its products. With only its latest models of mobile phones free of toxic substances, it has set January 2011 as the deadline for eliminating them from new models of its notebooks and still has no definitive timeline for removing them from its TVs and household appliances.
HP turned around and surprised the industry with a green desktop to start CES. Previously, HP had delayed their phase out of PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their computing products for 2 years.
Six months ago, I was climbing a ladder over a barbed wire fence to get on the HP roof with two gallons of paint on my back. Twelve activists painted a huge sign that said “Hazardous Products” on the roof of HP headquarters to send a strong message. HP had delayed its commitment to remove the toxic chemicals by two years, affecting people and the environment.
The same morning, William Shatner lent his voice to several thousand phone calls into HP employees to ask for a green laptop.
As we see HP making progress in phasing out these toxic chemicals from their products, we want to see their competitors, such as Dell and Lenovo, make the change as well. For years, we have campaigned to green the electronics industry, calling out laggards and highlighting leaders. This year, the president of CEA introduced the event saying green tech is driving innovation. We are glad to know that Greenpeace has helped drive green tech and helped the planet.
Microsoft is making no effort whatsoever in demonstrating sustainable electronic products at CES. After several in-person requests for information, they have nothing to show or say for environmental concerns. Unlike other leading companies represented at CES, Microsoft does not showcase green products or provide information or examples of sustainability. They do not provide concrete information for their future plans in regards to greening their products, nor do they mention any general position on responsibility towards the environment. Based on their presence at CES, Microsoft does not seem to have environmental concerns on their radar at all. This should not be surprising, since they are ranked 17th out of 18 IT companies in the Guide to Greener Electronics.
In the ranking, Microsoft loses most points on the chemicals criteria, as it fails to show support for improvements to the revised EU RoHS Directive (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronics); specifically, a methodology for further restrictions of hazardous substances, and an immediate ban on brominated flame retardants (BFRs), chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs) and PVC vinyl plastic. The company has committed to removing PVC and BFRs from its hardware products by or before 2010, and phthalates by the end of 2010. However, it needs to put products on the market that are free from BFRs in printed circuit boards before it can score points for this criterion in the Guide to Greener Electronics.
Home energy monitoring, which lets users dial in the energy use in their homes, has inspired several new products at CES and is getting some well deserved attention. Direct Energy, which is working with Whirlpool Corp., Best Buy, Lennox and OpenPeak, has put out a smart meter that include real-time energy monitoring. Homeowners can use these control their electricity usage and costs. The use of these meters makes smart climate AND energy sense.
It’s technologies like these from the ITC industry that inspired us to start our Cool IT campaign, an effort to get ITC into the game to reduce emissions and be strong advocates for climate solutions. ITC is responsible for roughly 2 percent of global emissions, but studies have shown that IT solutions such as video conferencing, smart power grids, and highly efficient components could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent by 2020.—Daniel
Almost every big tech company at CES has their signature “green” product. Sony has its new Vaio laptop, 23 percent of which is made from recycled CDs. The packaging of the device is made of recycled materials, and cardboard waste for shipping is minimal.
All Sony Ericsson products are already free from PVC vinyl plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs), with the exception of a few components that are still being phased out. Sony Ericsson has already met the challenge of our new criterion on chemicals by banning antimony, beryllium and phthalates from new models launched since January 2008.
Moreover, Sony Ericsson is one of only two companies (the other is Acer) that is proactively lobbying in the EU for the revision of the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronics) Directive to adopt a 3 to 5 year timeline for further restrictions on organo-chlorine and bromine substances.
OnStar has a new mobile app for the Chevy Volt, available later this year. Users can schedule charging time for off-peak hours, start and stop a charge, and recieve text message alerts about the battery. Oh, and the “Brag Bar” allows drivers to talk smack about mpgs.
We just posted this great resource to find out what companies have products on the market today that are PVC and BFR-free.
LG Electronics loves the Greenpeace Greener Electronics Guide and watches it closely. The rep says it is good for LG, good for other companies, and good for the consumer. If LG wants a better ranking, they will correct an issue that cost them: backtracking on a commitment to remove PVC and BFRs from all products in 2010.
For more: LG in Guide to Greener Electronics