Technology titans earn low marks for environmental impact in Greenpeace report

James Marshall
October 17, 2017

The remaining companies - Acer, LG, Sony, Google, Huawei, ASUS, Samsung, Amazon, Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi - all scored between D+ and F.

Demand for consumer electronics continues to climb, with almost 2bn devices sold in 2016 alone. We know they can change.

Greenpeace today has released a new version of its Guide to Greener Electronics. "Rather than fuelling climate change, these companies need to show the way forward, just as some companies like Google and Apple have with data centres run on renewables". The UN has estimated that e-waste globally will surpass 65 million tons in 2017-enough to bury San Francisco to 14 feet.

The Greenpeace study insists that planned obsolescence is increasingly being adopted as a design feature, with numerous latest products from Apple, Microsoft and Samsung said to be hard to fix or upgrade.

According to Greenpeace, Apple is the only company to have set a renewable energy goal for its supply chain, and several of its suppliers have already committed to using 100 percent renewable energy.

Consumption of electronic gadgets leads to higher carbon emissions and a worsened environment, since major electronics brands have their manufacturing bases in Asian nations where electricity is generated mainly by coal-fired plants, Lee said.

Companies can start with setting a goal to reduce supply chain emissions like HP, or actively partner with suppliers to procure renewable energy like Apple.

"Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age", he said in a statement. Almost all of the companies are allegedly yet to address the growing carbon footprint in their supply chains, where up to 80% of carbon emissions over a device's lifetime occurs during manufacturing. They are: reduction of greenhouse gases through efficient energy use, use of sustainable materials, and use of hazardous chemicals.

The campaign group is calling for more companies in the global IT sector to ensure their supply chains are powered by clean energy sources, to cut down on their use of minerals and other resources, and find more alternatives to hazardous chemicals.

"It is clear the impacts of the linear take-make-waste business model employed by device manufacturers extend beyond the concerns of e-waste", Cook said. We need to see greater ambition, more transparency, and follow through from companies to address the environmental impacts of their enormous supply chains.

Electronics are often made hard to maintain and fix, leading to more waste, and the survey is aimed at encouraging people to choose more durable and "greener" products, she said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER