Thursday, February 3, 2011

Greenpeace 3rd Green Electronics Survey Released.

Interested in checking out how the consumer electronic industry is improving the green personality of their products? Greenpeace have just released (January) their 3rd survey on green electronics. They collected data from eighteen major consumer electronics companies including Lenovo, LG, Motorola, Fujitsu, HP, Sony and Dell with two notable companies declining to participate, Apple and Philips.

The products under the green microscope included netbook computers, desktops, laptops, mobile phones, smartphone’s, LCD computer monitors, LCD and Plasma TV’s, unfortunately data storage products were not in the mix.

To the casual observer green products are usually thought of as simply energy efficient products but the broader view taken by this survey included not just energy efficiency but the elimination of toxic substance, product lifecycle including how efficiently end-of–life disposal issues (ewaste) are managed, how products are marketed and the availability of innovate green features. A significantly more holistic view of product greenness than the criteria applied to previous surveys.

Summarizing the report, Greenpeace congratulated the electronics industry on making progress but in their opinion they still have a long way to go.

Main findings were:

1. Product Toxicity: Significant progress has been made in the elimination of hazardous materials which is just as well considering that the US is currently generating 3M tons of ewaste annually, China at 2.3M tons and India expected to increase it toxic ewaste by 500x between 2007 and 2017. How companies eliminate the product toxicity is certainly a legitimate measure of green.

2. Energy Efficiency. Companies have been focusing on the energy efficiency of their products. However reducing the embedded energy, the energy spent in their manufacture has not been effectively addressed.

3. Product Lifecycle: There is little use of recycled plastics and limited “take-back” policies. Fast obsolescence is still a fact; there is little marketing effort to increase useful product life.

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