Greenpeace slams console manufacturers

Every few months, Greenpeace ranks the 18 top electronic entertainment companies (including manufacturers of mobile phones, personal computers and TVs as well as video game consoles) according to the company’s policies on climate change, recycling and toxic chemicals. The latest results are in, and games fans might be in for a shock.

The guide has been created with three goals in mind – get the companies to:

  • Clean up their products by eliminating hazardous substances.
  • Take back and recycle their products responsibly once they become obsolete.
  • Reduce the climate impacts of their operations and products.
Rubbish Dump: e-Waste?


This month’s report sees Nintendo still wallowing in bottom spot, with a tiny score of 1.8 out of 10.

The company performed admirably in the area of the report focussing on dangerous chemicals (using PVC-free internal wiring, banning phthalates and monitoring antimony and beryllium), but again failed to score any points in the ‘e-waste’ category which measures the company’s approach to taking back discarded products, or dealing with electronic waste they generate.

Scoring a few extra points is the low-power AC adapter for the DSi, which actually meets the Energy Star programme requirements for external power supplies – but loses them for increasing CO2 emissions and other greenhouse gases by 2% on previous years (that said, they are prepared to disclose these emissions, which is a start).

Microsoft fare a little better, but not much – coming in at number 17 out of the 18 companies thanks mainly to their use of dangerous chemicals.

Their score dropped by 1.9 points over the last report, the result of a penalty imposed for “backtracking on its commitment” to phase out the chemicals such as PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the end of 2010. This failure also affected their chemical score in other ways – the company’s commitments to the phase out of hazardous chemicals are not clearly communicated to its suppliers. Oops.

Skipping over Toshiba, Lenovo, LG, Fujitsu, Acer, Sharp, Dell and Apple, we get up to the three companies tied for sixth place with 5.1 points: Panasonic, Motorola, and the third big console manufacturer, Sony.

Sony products on the market today are “partially free” of PVC and BFRs (including all VAIO PCs, many camcorders, digital cameras, video recorders and even the humble Walkman). No word on the content of the PlayStation 3 specifically – and the company has not yet shown support for bans on PVC vinyl plastic or brominated/chlorinated flame retardants. To maintain their score, the company also needs to set a timeline for eliminating phthalates and other chemicals from their products.

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, October 2010

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, October 2010

The company in top spot – above Samsung, HP, Philips and Sony Ericsson – is Finnish communications giant Nokia, with a whopping 7.5/10. They have been PVC-free since 2005, and are on track for all of their mobile phones and accessories launched in 2010 to be free of brominated compounds, chlorinated flame retardants and antimony trioxide, achieving their goal to phase out these dangerous chemicals.

…they’re not perfect though, and still have some work to do on e-waste issues and improving their energy consumption. Still, sounds like they’ve got their heads on straight – from a gamer’s point of view, it’s just a pity the N-Gage was such a dismal failure!

This story was featured in Episode 7 of playerattack News:

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