Greenpeace Lauds Lenovo, Attacks Apple

With their newest Green Electronics Guide Greenpeace has just released their latest rankings on the “greenness” of various electronics companies. What does it mean for a company to be green? For Greenpeace, it would seem that savvy web corporate social responsibility is the ultimate measure of a company’s green health. There is something suspect in Greenpeace’s latest installment of the Green Electronics Guide, as the guide rates electronics brands on their web-based chemical policy reports, rather than on the environmental impact of the companies or products themselves.

Greenpeace Green Electronics Guide, Lenova, Green My Apple Campaign, Greenpeace Toxic tech, photo by Natalie Behring of GreenpeacePhoto by Natalie Behring of Greenpeace

Proof that reports matter more than action – Lenovo, the China-based PC maker that bought IBM’s PC business, jumped from last place in August to first place in the most recent report. While we commend Lenovo for making such reports transparent, the company’s actual environmental impact record could not have made such stratospheric change in that time frame. Lenovo is being rewarded for directly responding to Greenpeace’s campaign. Meanwhile, Apple is singled out for not responding to Greenpeace’s demands, ranking last on the list.

To be sure, e-waste is a real problem, and a dangerous consequence of our ever increasing need for electronics devices. So what’s so terrible about Greenpeace campaigning for publicly disclosed environmental policy reports? Doesn’t the report of green intentions lead to greener action?

Greenpeace Green Electronics Guide, Lenova, Green My Apple Campaign, Greenpeace Toxic tech, photo by Natalie Behring of Greenpeace

The problem with Greenpeace’s campaign is the focus on toxicity and recycling while excluding one of the major contributors to climate change – energy expended during manufacturing and use. We discussed a more comprehensive analysis of PCs and Macs at the product level back in January in our ASK INHABITAT series.

If you truly want to make a greener purchasing decision, we recommend looking up the specific PC or Mac in the publicly available online tool brought to you by the Green Electronics Council. Products are evaluated for their full life cycle impact (including recycling, end-of -life, and toxicity), and are tested on a regular basis. Rated “bronze” a “silver”, no manufacturer has earned “gold” status yet – an issue that Greenpeace may wish to turn into a more meaningful campaign.

INHABITAT: Which gadgets are the greenest?>


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