Apple At Bottom Of 'Green Ranking' Barrel - InformationWeek

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Apple At Bottom Of 'Green Ranking' Barrel

Lenovo, on the other hand, toppled Nokia from the No. 1 spot for being the most improved vendor, according to a Greenpeace survey.

Despite its worldly image, Apple ranks at the bottom of Greenpeace's latest "Green Ranking," while Chinese computer maker Lenovo shot up from last place to become the most environmentally conscious electronics maker.

Apple was ranked last because of its failure to make any progress in its recycling and toxic content policies, Greenpeace said in its report released Wednesday. The environmental group started publishing the list in August 2006. Apple also was taken to task by Greenpeace for failing to release the full list of regulated substances it uses, and for refusing to provide timelines for eliminating use of the most toxic substances.

In addition, Apple "performs poorly" in product take-back and recycling, Greenpeace said. The only positive for Apple is that it reports on the amounts of its electronic waste recycled.

Apple took issue with Greenpeace's ranking system. "We disagree with Greenpeace's rating and the criteria they chose," a company spokeswoman said. "Apple has a strong environmental track record, and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances, such as mercury, cadmium, and hexavalent chromium, as well as any BFRs."

Greenpeace penalized Apple for failing to make a commitment to phase out all uses of BFRs, which stands for brominated flame retardants. The chemical is an organic compound that's resistant to environmental degradation, which means it remains in the environment and can accumulate in human and animal tissue.

Apple also said its desktops, notebooks and displays scored "best in class" in the Green Electronics Council's ranking system, called the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT. A quick search of the site found that Apple's products received silver rankings, which fell between bronze and gold. The organization evaluates products based international standards set by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

Lenovo, on the other hand, toppled Nokia from the No. 1 spot for being the most improved vendor. The company's feats included becoming the first to provide global take-back and recycling services wherever its products are sold. Lenovo, however, failed to achieve a perfect score for not selling models that are free of the most toxic chemicals.

"Given the growing mountains of e-waste in China -- both imported and domestically generated -- it's heartening to see a Chinese company taking the lead, and assuming responsibility at least for its own branded waste," Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace's international toxics campaigner, said in a statement. "The challenge for the industry now is to see who will actually place greener products on the market."

Greenpeace ranks 14 of the major electronics manufacturers. Since its last ranking in December 2006, companies have been scrambling to raise their listings. In the latest scorecard, nine of the 14 companies had more than five out of a possible 10 points.

The top five green-rated vendors in descending order were Lenovo, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Dell, and Samsung.

This article was edited on April 4 to include a comment from Apple

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