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.