Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Guide to Greener Electronics—How Does Your Favorite Gadget Rank?

Energy

Greenpeace International

by Casey Harrell

Every day, you rely on your computer, mobile phone or tablet to be more productive, or just to have fun. Gadgets can make our lives better, but the rate at which we collectively purchase and discard them is having a serious impact on our planet.

So people often ask us: "Who is the greenest tech company?" These queries only intensify as we head into the winter holiday shopping season. And we answer this question carefully, with lots of analysis and interaction with consumer electronics companies. 

Often the greenest option for people is to buy only what they truly need, to buy used electronics and to extend the life of their devices by upgrading parts or replacing a weak battery. The greenest electronic gadget is usually the one you don't buy.

However, when people do need to purchase a new product, there is some good news to report: many electronic companies have improved at removing toxic chemicals from mobile phones, computers and tablets, an important step in the right direction. This change did not happen by accident or altruism; companies changed in large part because of creative people-powered campaigns

The next big challenge for the tech sector is to address the dirty energy embedded in the devices’ manufacturing and supply chains that causes climate change. With an expected $1 trillion USD in sales in 2012, the industry can prevent a lot of global warming pollution if it moves to clean energy in its manufacturing processes.

That’s why today, Greenpeace International released the 18th version of its Guide to Greener Electronics, which ranks 16 leading electronics companies based on their commitment and progress across several environmental criteria that judge how green their products and practices are. 

These companies need to lead so that they can prevent electronic waste from piling up in places such as China, and can ensure that their products are made from clean power, not dirty energy. Electronic companies have also gained political power in many countries, meaning their advocacy for clean energy can have a big impact on government policies.

Wipro, an Indian firm, tops our latest edition of the guide due to its embrace of renewable energy and advocacy for greener energy policies in India. The company also scored well for post-consumer e-waste collection for recycling and for phasing out hazardous substances from its products. Wipro has the set the bar for the sector and it’s time for its competitors to beat that mark.

Taiwanese computer maker Acer was the most improved company in the guide, moving up nine spots to No. 4 for engaging with its suppliers on greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous substances, conflict minerals and fibre sourcing. HP (2), Nokia (3) and Dell (5) round out the top five. Apple dropped slightly from No. 5 in last year’s edition to No. 6, and Blackberry maker RIM did not improve from its rock-bottom 16th ranking.

The guide scores companies on overall policies and practices, not on specific products, so it gives you a snapshot of the sustainability of the biggest names in the industry.

The question is, how did the brand that you buy score in the rankings?

Over the course of the 18 editions of the guide, we've seen companies leapfrog each other in a green race to the top. So you don't need to abandon your favorite brand immediately; instead make sure your voice is heard. Post a comment on your favorite company's Facebook page and share this guide with your friends and family. 

All of us—companies and individuals alike—have a responsibility to make our planet more sustainable.

 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Women walk from Santa Monica beach after a social media workout on the sand on May 12, 2020 in Santa Monica, California. Al Seib / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Independence Day weekend is a busy time for coastal communities as people flock to the beaches to soak up the sun during the summer holiday. This year is different. Some of the country's most popular beach destinations in Florida and California have decided to close their beaches to stop the surge in coronavirus cases.

Read More Show Less
Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans and others who suffer from PTSD. Flickr / CC by 2.0

By Arash Javanbakht

For some combat veterans, the Fourth of July is not a time to celebrate the independence of the country they love. Instead, the holiday is a terrifying ordeal. That's because the noise of fireworks – loud, sudden, and reminiscent of war – rocks their nervous system. Daily fireworks in many U.S. cities in recent weeks have no doubt been interfering with the sleep and peace of mind of thousands of veterans.

Read More Show Less
Koala populations across parts of Australia are on track to become extinct before 2050 unless "urgent government intervention" occurs. Mathias Appel / Flickr

Koala populations across parts of Australia are on track to become extinct before 2050 unless "urgent government intervention" occurs, warns a year-long inquiry into Australia's "most loved animal." The report published by the Parliament of New South Wales (NSW) paints a "stark and depressing snapshot" of koalas in Australia's southeastern state.

Read More Show Less
NASA is advancing tools like this supercomputer model that created this simulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to better understand what will happen to Earth's climate if the land and ocean can no longer absorb nearly half of all climate-warming CO2 emissions. NASA/GSFC

By Jeff Berardelli

For the past year, some of the most up-to-date computer models from the world's top climate modeling groups have been "running hot" – projecting that global warming may be even more extreme than earlier thought. Data from some of the model runs has been confounding scientists because it challenges decades of consistent projections.

Read More Show Less
A child stands in what is left of his house in Utuado, Puerto Rico, which was almost completely destroyed by Hurricane Maria, on Oct. 12, 2017. U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Jon-Paul Rios. Flickr, CC by 2.0
By Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope

To hear many journalists tell it, the spring of 2020 has brought a series of extraordinary revelations. Look at what the nation has learned: That our health-care system was not remotely up to the challenge of a deadly pandemic. That our economic safety net was largely nonexistent. That our vulnerability to disease and death was directly tied to our race and where we live. That our political leadership sowed misinformation that left people dead. That systemic racism and the killing of Black people by police is undiminished, despite decades of protest and so many Black lives lost.
Read More Show Less
President Trump's claim last September that Hurricane Dorian was headed for Alabama's gulf coast was quickly refuted by employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). An independent investigation found that NOAA's chief violated the agency's ethics when he backed Trump's warning and doctored map that used a Sharpie to alter the storm's path, as EcoWatch reported.
Read More Show Less

Trending

African bush elephants in the Makgadikgadi Pans Game Reserve in Botswana on Nov. 22, 2016. Michael Jansen / Flickr

More than 350 elephants have died in Botswana since May, and no one knows why.

Read More Show Less