Greenpeace: Tech giants neglecting environmental responsibility

Apple and Samsung going wrong direction for sustainable product design

The survey of 17 major electronic device manufacturers, published as the "Guide to Greener Electronics" (www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/detox/electronics/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics) evaluated the companies according to their performance in energy transformation, resource depletion and management of chemical materials.

"In the next three to five years, the use of renewable energy and how well the companies cope with climate change will determine their core competitiveness", Lee said. Just one per cent of its energy is from renewables previous year.

Demand for consumer electronics continues to climb, with almost 2bn devices sold in 2016 alone.

Since 2011, Greenpeace has urged global tech companies to transition to renewable energy, prompting some of them to switch to environmentally friendly power sources for their data centres.

The report highlights a lack of urgency in tackling global e-waste volumes, which are expected to surpass 65 million metric tonnes this year.

But Apple otherwise gets a high ranking from Greenpeace because of its 100% commitment to renewable energy, and its overall transparency.

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Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are among the companies moving in the wrong direction on sustainable product design.

It is reported that Apple and Sony have blocked attempts to strengthen environmental electronics standards that would encourage device designs that are easier to fix, upgrade, and disassemble for recycling.

"Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age". 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. It also received low marks on its efforts to reduce and disclose hazardous chemicals at workplaces and to design long-lasting products. Up to 80% of a device's carbon emissions occur during manufacturing, and while Apple, Google, and other internet companies are making progress transitioning their data centers to renewable energy (a service which would fall outside of a device's manufacturing period), most companies have yet to address their rapidly growing carbon footprint and reliance upon dirty supply chains. Dell and HP both scored C+ while Lenovo and Microsoft both scored a C-. We need to see greater ambition, more transparency, and follow through from companies to address the environmental impacts of their enormous supply chains.

"It is clear the impacts of the linear take-make-waste business model employed by device manufacturers extend beyond the concerns of e-waste", said Cook.

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.

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