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Greenpeace slams Nintendo, offers others faint praise

Greenpeace released its eighth quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics Wednesday, raising its standards and handing out poor marks to all of the 18 companies it reviewed.

By Blogger for The Christian Science Monitor / June 25, 2008

Greenpeace found that Nintendo's products, such as this Wii gaming console, contain toxic chemicals.

AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi, file

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Greenpeace released its eighth quarterly Guide to Greener Electronics Wednesday, raising its standards and handing out poor marks to all of the 18 companies it reviewed.

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The report [PDF] ranks top manufacturers of mobile phones, computers, televisions and game consoles according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals and their take-back programs.

Coming out on top is Sony Ericsson, which scored 5.1 out of 10 points. Greenpeace praised the company for having eliminated PVCs from all of its products, and for banning antimony, beryllium, and phthalates from new models launched since January 2008. But the environmental group criticized the company for its lack of programs that allow consumers to return old products for recycling. According to Greenpeace, Sony Ericsson had a recycling rate of only one percent to three percent.

Scoring last was Nintendo. Greenpeace said that the video game company, which scored only 0.8 points out of 10, has not given a timeline for phasing out PVCs or brominated flame retardants, and that it provides very little information on recycling.

Nokia would have come in first place with a score of 5.8, but Greenpeace docked them a point for "corporate misbehavior". The company claims to have a recycling program in India, but Greenpeace says that this program is "not functioning on the ground."

Since its previous report [PDF], released in March, Greenpeace has tightened its standards on e-waste and toxic chemical ratings on energy efficiency and on each company's greenhouse gas emissions. The best performers for energy efficiency are Sony Ericsson and Apple; Phillips did the best on greenhouse gases.

Now facing higher expectations, most of the companies saw their scores plummet. In the March report, Samsung and Toshiba won top honors, with scores of 7.7 out of 10. Now those companies score 4.5 and 4.3, respectively.

In a press release, Greenpeace campaigner Iza Kruszewska noted the mixed performance of electronics manufacturers.

Electronics giants pay attention to environmental performance on certain issues, while ignoring others that are just as important. Philips, for example, scores well on chemicals and energy criteria, but scores a zero on e-waste since it has no global take-back polices. Philips would score higher if it took responsibility for its own branded e-waste and established equitable global take-back schemes.

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