Greenpeace Says HP, Dell, Lenovo Backtrack On Promises

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Dell, Lenovo and HP are three of the least environmentally friendly manufacturers of computers, according to a report released by environmental watchdog group Greenpeace.

Over the course of the past five months, Greenpeace found that all three of the companies backtracked on their commitments to eliminate vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009. PVC plastics and BFRs are two toxic culprits responsible for the growing glut of e-waste.

"Greenpeace's IT Climate Leadership Challenge calls on the IT industry to provide real solutions for the imminent threat of global warming. By turning climate change into a business opportunity and offering their top-line support for a strong climate deal, companies who take the lead in this challenge will see a massive increase in their market share," said Melanie Francis, Greenpeace International climate and energy campaigner.

Greenpeace's Guide To Greener Electronics first debuted in August 2006 and ranks the 17 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and game consoles. The scores are tabulated based on each individual company's policies on toxic chemicals, recycling and climate change.

In the latest edition of the Guide To Greener Electronics, all three computer manufacturers failed to crack out of the bottom third of companies surveyed, with Dell in 13th place, Lenovo in 14th and HP second to last in 16th place.

According to Greenpeace, Dell has been losing points in the survey, tumbling from fifth place in March 2008 to 13th position in March 2009, because the company backtracked on its commitment to eliminate PVC and BFRs from all of its products by the end of 2009. The company also loses points because its claims of energy-efficient products don't add up.

"[Dell] needs to clarify what it understands by 'Energy Star compliant configurations.' PCs need to leave the factory with the most energy-efficient settings, which should not go out of ES compliance when consumers tweak power management settings," the report said.

For its part, Dell is still working to take an environmentally friendly approach to its products and manufacturing practices by participating in such programs as free consumer computer recycling and reducing carbon emissions. In fact, Dell's commitment to reducing global emissions may be one of the only reasons the company didn't rank even lower on the Greenpeace report.

"We remain very committed to proactively eliminating environmentally sensitive substances from our products, and we're working closely with our suppliers to eliminate these chemicals from our products," a spokesperson for Dell said. "This commitment is genuine, and we do deliver some BFR/PVC-reduced products today. However, as there are no viable alternatives to many of the components used in our products which include these chemicals, we've adjusted our timetable for eliminating them accordingly."


NEXT: HP, Lenovo Feel the Heat

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