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Nintendo, Microsoft, Philips fail Greenpeace toxic test

Posted: 29 Nov 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Greenpeace toxic test? game consoles? harmful chemicals?

The latest edition of Greenpeace's "Guide to Greener Electronics," which assessed TV sets and the rapidly growing games consoles market, showed that Nintendo completely failed to show any environmental credentials, while and Microsoft and Philips do little better.

The quarterly guide is the organization's way of getting the electronics industry to face up to the problem of e-waste, pushing them to get rid of harmful chemicals in their products. The Guide ranks companies according to their policies and practices on toxic chemicals and takeback. Along with mobile phone and PC companies, the list added the biggest makers of TVs and games consoles. Old TVs are a large part of e-waste and the games console market is one of the fastest growing in consumer electronics.

In its report, Nintendo took the bottom spot with 0/10 score. Microsoft did little better, scoring only 2.7, while Philips ranked the lowest TV-maker with 2.

Heading the ranking, Sony Ericsson has taken over number one spot from Nokia while Samsung and Sony have sped ahead to occupy second and third positions. Nokia and Motorola each had a penalty point deducted after the environment group found their claims of global takeback were not being matched by actual practice.

Takeback promises
According to Greenpeace, they tested the implementation of product takeback programs in six countries where Motorola, Nokia and Sony Ericsson claim, on their websites, to operate. Nokia representatives in the Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and India were not informed about their companies' own programs and in many cases provided misleading information. Meanwhile, Motorola staff in the Philippines, Thailand and India were unable to direct customers to collection points in their respective countries. As a result, Nokia falls from top position to ninth and Motorola drops from ninth position to fourteenth.

"Companies shouldn't be under any illusions that we won't check up on their claims of green greatness," commented Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner at Greenpeace International.

Companies making the most progress with new products without the worst toxic chemicals are now ranking higher than companies who have only committed to remove them in the future. Toshiba has laptops free of toxic chemicals like vinyl plastic (PVC) and has reduced the use of brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Apple's score improved slightly due to new iMacs with reduced use of PVC and BFRs. All new mobiles from Sony Ericsson and Nokia have been free of PVC since the end of 2006.

The guide focuses on toxic chemicals and takeback policy due to the rapid spread of toxic e-waste being dumped in developing countries like China and India. While Nintendo's Wii console appears to be more energy efficient compared to the Microsoft Xbox and Sony Playstation, energy use is not yet covered in the ranking.

Nokia and Motorola slide down the list due to broken takeback promises.

The group noted that many companies have already made big strides to improve their products and recycling schemes since the introduction of the Guide. However, it claims that no company has succeeded in offering an entire range of products free of the worst toxic chemicals or a comprehensive, free, global takeback scheme to ensure responsible recycling.

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