Saving the Planet

Due to a horrible traffic jam in the bowels of the Sands/Venetian Show venue, I was only able to catch the tail end of Greenpeace's January 9 press conference. The good news is that the greenest consumer electronics products on the market today have a smaller environmental footprint than those sold a year ago. The sad news is that there is considerable room for improvement.

"Green Electronics: The Search Continues," available online here, details the results of a survey of 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TV, and game consoles. It assesses toxic chemicals, recycling, energy efficiency, and climate change mitigation. The company's latest Green Products Survey assesses use of hazardous chemicals, power consumption, product lifecycle, and availability of data that reveal the amount of energy consumed in manufacturing products and special innovations that help reduce the total burden to the environment.

The big winner was the Lenovo L2440x wide monitor, which is far ahead of the competition. Also scoring highly were the Sharp LC-52GX5 TV, Samsung F268 mobile phone, Nokia 6210 Smart phone, Toshiba Portege R600 laptop, and Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 Desktop. It is important to note that, with the highest possible score being a 10, the best performer was the Lenovo monitor with a whole 6.9. Nothing else even achieved a 6.

As might be expected, Greenpeace did not focus attention on our niche industry, except at the increasing intersection of computers, hi-end audio, and home theater. In my own questioning of manufacturers, I have noted several instances where either the company had no idea of the manufacturing conditions in factories or the environmental toll exacted by use of exotic woods. Besides compliance with Europe's ROHS initiative, relatively few high-end manufacturers are paying attention to using recycled materials, reducing power consumption, and safe manufacturing practices.

It is important to note that Apple, Asus, Microsoft, Nintendo, Palm, and Philips refused to participate in the survey, and that Sony only submitted game consoles for review. Readers wishing to support companies that protect and nurture Planet Earth know what to do.

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Comments
Antonio San's picture

The Thought Police is slowly intruding everywhere...

Patrick's picture

Listen, people tell you what to think every day. It's up to you to decide your own course of action. I'm glad to see there are people actually concerned with asking questions like "should we be concerned about toxic waste byproducts of manufacturing and disposing of consumer electronics?" Since when is responsibility a bad thing?

Larry's picture

Responsibility is never a bad thing. In this case it starts with getting a comprehensive education in science, the result of which will inevitably be a jaundiced view of whatever the moonbats at Greenpeace are selling this week. The alternative is to just double down and be sure to never expose oneself to any bit of information not peddled by NPR, The Nation, CNN, Newsweek, the NY Times or the Boston Globe. Or, sadly, the people at Stereophile.

Patrick's picture

So, any good suggestions on news sources then?

Stephen Scharf's picture

"Besides compliance with Europe's ROHS initiative, relatively few high-end manufacturers are paying attention to using recycled materials, reducing power consumption, and safe manufacturing practices."Of course, not. Companies like Toyota and Honda concern themselves with contributing materially to society. High-End companies are concerned with one thing....money. Hence the ridiculous overpricing and poor value provided by products we're seeing in the show coverage.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Each year, The Cable Company dedicates a time period - is it a month? - to contributing funds to the Hunger Project. Peter at Soundsmith has begun Direct Grace records which supports children in extreme poverty. Ray Kimber is very generous in his support of organizations he cares about. I am happy to report that your blanket assessment of the high-end industry is incorrect.

suits_me's picture

"...In this case it starts with getting a comprehensive education in science...." Nice to hear from those who deny that the global environment is in serious trouble thanks to needlessly wasteful human activity. And it always amusing when the deniers invoke science. (Not that Greenpeace doesn't have problems, particularly with its street fundraising methodologies.)

nabby's picture

Larry wrote> In this case it starts with getting > a comprehensive education in science, > the result of which will inevitably > be a jaundiced view of whatever the > moonbats at Greenpeace are selling > this week.I have a BSE in electrical engineering from an Ivy League university, and consider myself very scientifically inclined. Many of my friends have gone on to get PhD's at MIT, Harvard, Yale, etc. in physics, engineering, etc., and I would consider everyone one of them to be a strong environmentalist.It sounds to me it has little to do with education, and more with your ideological leanings. In your case, education would probably just give you further avenues for sophistry in your defense of the indefensible. And yes, the high-end is a bastion of waste and excess. Some day our children will laugh at the things we created, and $50k amps that burn 300W at idle will be one of them, if they're even remembered. Enjoy it while you can.

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