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A Guide to Greener Electronics

When Greenpeace released a global Guide to Greener Electronics last November, it carried a refreshing surprise: Wipro, the Bangalore-based electronics company, made a grand debut, taking the No. 1 position.

Having previously been featured in a local edition of the guide, Wipro earned 7.1 out of 10 points to become the world leader in the race to turn green. The company manufacturers computer hardware and provides IT services in India and the Middle East with astonishing success.

With this score, Wipro is en route to become the first 100 percent green electronics manufacturer. This marks a new standard of what it means to do business while in search for green perfection — if that will ever be possible.

Greenpeace granted Wipro maximum points on the products criteria, making the company the only one with the highest score for energy efficiency. It's worth a mention that all of Wipro's new products met the latest Energy Star compliance at the time.

Also, 52 percent of the total of its existing products exceed Energy Star 5.0 standards. Four out of five Wipro products are free of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC), and brominated frame retardants (BFRs).

Wipro's take-back service to its customers and excellent performance on the collection and recycling of post-consumer e-waste earned it the perfect score of 10 out of 10 points, making the company the leader on sustainable operations criteria.

Of course, there's still room to improve. Greenpeace urged Wipro to provide updated information on the use of post-consumer recycled plastics, a list including the products using them, and detailed information about the lifecycle of its products. Wipro's full scorecard is available here.

This video takes us on a little virtual tour through WIPRO's offices in Bangalore, introducing us to the world of a company clearly committed to the environment:

{youtubenew|/embed/RLR07oM_SBQ|315|560}

More effort needed
Some of the top companies still need to prove that they can do better in putting out less pollutants to the environment. Some others fell too much behind, and it will require a significant effort to stay in career.

HP (rated 5.7/10) lost its top spot to Wipro. It's now No. 2 among the top companies reviewed. HP is excelling in management of its supply chain, but it needs to work more on its score on e-waste, according to the guide.

After having led in the first position for three consecutive years, Nokia (5.4/10) moved to third position in the guide. Nokia scored highest on the sustainable operations criteria for its voluntary take-back program in 100 countries with 6,000 collection points for end-of-life phones, and also providing excellent recycling information to customers.

Acer (5.1/10) moved up to the fourth position, scoring higher on sustainable operations due to its role with suppliers, and doing well on chemicals management. Acer has asked suppliers to commit to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as it aims to reduce its global GHG by 30 percent by 2015.

Dell (4.6/10) dropped to fifth position with a bad score in all products criteria and transparency issues. However, it performed well on sustainable operations, including its supply chain management, and receives maximum points for its paper procurement policy.

Apple (4.5/10) fell to No. 6. Despite scoring a high score for its global take-back program with a global recycling exceeding Apple's initial 70 percent goal, it has lost points for lacking a robust take-back program in India. Together with HP, it remains with top scores for policies and practices concerning conflict minerals, and continues to score well on the products criteria, being one of the first companies selling products free of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) and brominated frame retardants (BFRs).

RIM remains in the lowest position with only 2.0 points, revealing a really bad performance in all the criteria.

Surely we can expect significant advances as manufacturers demand more from their supply chains in order to improve their score by the time the next Guide is published at the end of this year.

34 comments on “A Guide to Greener Electronics

  1. FLYINGSCOT
    June 14, 2013

    I wonder it RIM's appalling score is what prompted them to change their name to Blackberry ūüėČ ¬†Well done Wipro and great to see some Indian companies leading the world in key areas.

  2. SP
    June 14, 2013

    When APple has good green policy worldwide, why do they lack in India? Its difficult to understand.

  3. _hm
    June 14, 2013

    Wipro, Infosys and TCS are flagship organizations in India and has very high moral and corporate ethics. Kudos to Wipro!

    Susan – have you visited India? India and China are quite intriguing cultures and if there is opportunity, I may urge you to visit these societies.

  4. t.alex
    June 15, 2013

    I have visited India a few times, and did pass by Infosys campus. However, I did not have a chance to visit Wipro. 

    Very impressed from the video.

     

  5. Houngbo_Hospice
    June 15, 2013

    SF,

    Most users don't know what to do with their end-of-life phones due to lack of adequate recycling information. It seems that Nokia is doing the right thing by providing recycling information to customers. This way they will be integrated into the recycling process.

  6. Houngbo_Hospice
    June 15, 2013

    @_hm,

    Way to go for Wipro. Good lesson for other manufacturers to emulate. I've heard that e-waste management is a huge and lucrative business in India. 

    According to the recently published report by TechSci Research, a global management consulting firm “India Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Recycling Market Forecast and Opportunities, 2017”, the Indian WEEE recycling market will grow beyond USD 100 Million by 2013. (see ¬†http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/2/prweb10441821.htm )

  7. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    HH, 

    Thanks for the link. ūüôā¬†

    Yes, the recycling business has grown a lot in the past 20 years in India. However, environmental organizations should keep an eye in India, China, and other places where eWaste is transformed in an illegal business, using wrong practices to extract precious metals or components, as also mentioned below. Some of these illegal organization use very old and unsafe methods to extract gold, for example, putting the health of workers at risk, and contaminating the waters in the region. 

    “The Indian WEEE recycling market is highly fragmented with the presence of more than 75 companies from organized sector. The organized sector has been constantly facing intense competition from the unorganized local counterpart. The unorganized sector commands a strong presence in the market on the back of their better access to electronic and electrical scrap. However, increasing governmental policies and norms to recycle E-Waste is also crushing the unorganized sector which uses wrong practices to extract the desired components”

    -Susan

  8. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    HH, 

    “Most users don't know what to do with their end-of-life phones due to lack of adequate recycling information.”

    This has also been my observation lately. Since I've been writing the recycling series of articles I have noticed how little people know about recycling, recycling options, and how little information, or inadequate information there is on the subject. 

    “It seems that Nokia is doing the right thing by¬†providing recycling information to customers. This way they will be integrated into the recycling process.”

    Yes, Nokia is doing a great job providing excellent information to customers. They have several videos about recycling mobiles. The mainstream press should pay more attention to this, instead of focusing on so much gossiping and trashy stories that don't bring anything to the readers. 

    -Susan 

  9. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    t.alex, 

    I was equally impressed. Maybe next time you go to India you pay Wipro a visit, right? ūüôā It would be nice to visit a company that is putting so much effort in doing the right thing. ¬†

    -Susan 

  10. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    _hm, 

    No, I have never visited India. It has been on my list, though. I practice yoga and meditation, and I have thought several times about maybe going to a Yoga retreat in India. Gandhi is one of the people I admire, and it would be interesting to go for this reason, too.

    And well, now I would like to visit Wipro as well. So, it's only adding to the list of reasons. I haven't been to China either. Maybe I should go, and have a closer look at recycling, right? ūüôā

    So you have been in both India and China. In what sense you think they are intriguing societies? 

    -Susan

  11. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    SP, 

    “When APple has good green policy worldwide, why do they lack in India? Its difficult to understand.”

    I asked myself the same question. I don't understand. If I want to know more about this I will have to dig deeper. I couldn't find anything to explain this. It really surprised me. And just think that this was the reason why Apple lost points. Do you have any clue what could have happened? Any guess? 

    -Susan


  12. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    Flyingscot, 

    RIM's 2.0 points is close  to nothing, right? This also let me thinking for a good while. How come an electronics manufacturer can be so irresponsible? If you want to read the detail just follow the link where you find all the scorecards. 

    -Susan

  13. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    Flyingscot, 

    Here it is RIM in more detail: http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/18th-Edition/RIM/  From there you can also find the scorecard (pdf) 

    -Susan

  14. _hm
    June 16, 2013

    @Susan: Do you practice Trancedental Meditation, TM? That is very good tool to train, control and harness your both parts of brain. It is highly effective.

    As for Gandhi, have you read his autobiography “Satya Na Prayogo – by Gandhiji (Mahatma Gandhi's Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth)? You will like this book.

    I am very familiar with India! But I may like to visit China and spend half a year in rural China to get real taste of Chinese culture.

     

  15. ahdand
    June 16, 2013

    @Susan: Thank you for sharing the link susan. Found it very useful. I made a proposal based on it to my working place. Lets hope it turns out well       

  16. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    Nimantha, 

    I'm glad it was useful. Can you tell what kind of proposal? ūüôā¬†

    -Susan

  17. Susan Fourtané
    June 16, 2013

    _hm, 

    Yes, I have tried TM and other types of meditation. Do you practice TM?

    Yes, yes. I have read Gandhi's autobiography long time ago. Since then I have been impressed with all what he accomplished, and how he did it. His peaceful resistence approach, his practice of Satyagraha, everything talks about a Great Soul, indeed. He has been a great inspiration for me, he shown the world wars are not necessary. I believe in that.

    Unfortunately, the world as whole has never listened to his message. His autobiography should be part of the teachings in every school around the world. That way his message could reach more young people, who could follow his ideals of non-violence. “Study my life. My life is my message”, he used to say when people asked him what his message was.¬†

    The only thing, as far as I remember, he did with which I couldn't agree was when he didn't allow doctors to give penicilline to his wife, and consequently she died. I know it part of his religious belief, but I still felt sad about it because her life could have been saved.

    I also saw the movie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_HT4BM7cgJw 

    -Susan 

  18. elctrnx_lyf
    June 17, 2013

    It makes me really happy to see Wipro making big strides to become more and more environment friendly. This needs a real commitment in the long term and a purpose more than just financial success. I hope the global electronic giants should put more plans into action to prove they really care.

  19. Susan Fourtané
    June 17, 2013

    elctrnx_lyf, 

    It's good to hear Wipro actions make you happy. ūüôā

    “This needs a real commitment in the long term and a purpose more than just financial success.”

    Indeed. I also expect that more companies in the supply chain will see how important what they do in terms of keeping a green standard is for everyone, and for the environment, the decisions they make, and the effort they put. 

    -Susan

     

  20. Daniel
    June 17, 2013

    Susan, it's sad to read that the global players like RIM and Apple are last in the list. What about other IT majors like Dell, IBM, MS etc.

  21. Susan Fourtané
    June 17, 2013

    Jacob, 

    Greenpeace evaluated 16 companies. Dell is on the 5th position, Apple is on the 6th position, which means they are still good on the orange line.

    Apple is one of the high scores, not among the last ones. From Samsung down are the worst. Check the list below. I only mentioned the high scores in the blog, and RIM on the last position. The link to the Guide in the first or second sentence. 

    From the 7th to the 16th positions they are on the red line with low scores. RIM scored last on the 16th position. IBM and MS were not evaluated. 

    Here: 

    WIPRO

    Wipro, an Indian electronics company that has previously participated in Indian editions of the…

    HP

    HP is still above most companies on the ranking, but has lost its top spot from the most recent…

    NOKIA

    Nokia moves up to 3rd position in this edition of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics.

    ACER

    Acer moves up the ranking to 4th position, with a score of 5.1. Acer is showing a larger…

    DELL

    Dell drops to 5th position, with 4.6 points. While Dell scores high overall, the company scores…

    APPLE

    Apple drops to 6th position, with a score of 4.6. Though one of the high scorers in this edition…

    SAMSUNG

    Samsung moves up to 7th position, with 4.2 points in this year's Greenpeace Guide to Greener…

    SONY

    Sony moves up to 8th position, with 4.1 points. Sony was a top scorer in last year's Greenpeace…

    LENOVO

    Lenovo drops to 9th place in this edition of the Guide. Lenovo made progress by releasing…

    PHILIPS

    Philips moves down to 10th position in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics, with 3.8 points.

    PANASONIC

    Panasonic falls back to 11th position in this edition of the Greenpeace Guide to Greener…

    LGE

    LGE scores 3.5 points and moves up to 12th place. LGE receives points on a strong precautionary…

    HCL INFOSYSTEMS

    HCL Infosystems (HCL) is included in the global release of the 18th edition of the Greenpeace…

    SHARP

    Sharp falls back to joint 13th position with HCL, with a score of 3.1. Surprisingly, this solar…

    TOSHIBA

    Toshiba drops to 15th position with 2.3 points. Toshiba has, as of March 2012, removed polyvinyl…

    RIM

    RIM continues to score low in the Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronic, with 2.0 points. It…

  22. Susan Fourtané
    June 17, 2013

    Jacob, 

    And here is the introduction: http://www.greenpeace.org/new-zealand/en/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/18th-Edition/Introduction/

    -Susan 

     

  23. Tom Murphy
    June 17, 2013

    It's interesting to me how much the rankings change from year to year.   Certainly the corporate cultures don't change that much. I'm wondering why the environmental inclinations of the companies do?

  24. Ariella
    June 18, 2013

    @Tom Changes could be the results of a change in management or just timing. When a company needs to expand, it may take the opportunity to gain some green points by adopting environmentally-friendly additions. 

  25. Clairvoyant
    June 18, 2013

    This is very interesting, Susan. I didn't realize that there were evaluations like these done on companies. This is great information to get out to the consumer, as I believe consumers should start taking more considerations about a company being 'green' before buying items.

  26. Clairvoyant
    June 18, 2013

    This is very interesting, Susan. I didn't realize that there were evaluations like these done on companies. This is great information to get out to the consumer, as I believe consumers should start taking more considerations about a company being 'green' before buying items.

  27. Mr. Roques
    June 18, 2013

    Interesting point. Maybe the measuring points are changing. 

    I agree with Greenpeace when they asked Wipro about updated information on the use of post-consumer recycled plastics. What are they doing with them? How can we improve? How do companies battle with selling more devices with creating less pollution?

  28. Daniel
    June 19, 2013

    Susan, thanks for the link and detailed info.

  29. _hm
    June 20, 2013

    Yes, I practice TM. Did you tried or do you practice? It is one of the best therapy to harness channelize ones hidden mental power and to ascend to new summit.

  30. SunitaT
    June 21, 2013

    Wipro, the Bangalore-based electronics company, made a grand debut, taking the No. 1 position.

    @Susan, thanks for the post. I am glad that bangalore-based electronics company has topped the list. I am sure this will encourage other Indain companies to implement such measures which will help us to keep the earth green.

  31. SunitaT
    June 21, 2013

    it's sad to read that the global players like RIM and Apple are last in the list.

    @Jacob, I agree with your opinion. I would expect atleast Apple to take more concrete measures considering the fact that they are financially more stable.

  32. SunitaT
    June 21, 2013

    I believe consumers should start taking more considerations about a company being 'green'

    @clairvoyant, I totally agree with you. I think consumers should be made aware about these rankings so that they get an opportunity to support companies which are contributing significantly in keeping the earth green.

  33. SunitaT
    June 21, 2013

    Greenpeace evaluated 16 companies

    @Susan, any particular reason why Greenpeace evaluated only these 16 companies ? What about other major companies ? I am curiout to know if other companies are hesitating to participatie in this evaluation.

  34. t.alex
    June 24, 2013

    Susan, definitely ūüôā

    Travelling in India is pretty tough still, given the condition of the traffic flow. 

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