Consumer electronics giant Philips has become the second company to defend its environmental efforts following research conducted by Greenpeace which rated Philips as the second-worst company in terms of making an effort to reduce the amount of harmful materials used in its products and its policies for recycling outdated goods.
The Greenpeace Guide To Greener Electronics ranked the 18 top manufacturers of personal computers, mobile phones, TVs and games consoles according to their policies on toxic chemicals and recycling.
Philips earned only two points out of a possible ten for its efforts, beaten only by Nintendo which received zero points making it the worst company in terms of environmental awareness ranked by Greenpeace of all time.
Greenpeace said Philips had “no timeline for toxic chemicals elimination and zero points on e-waste policy and practice.”
Philips however claims it fares quite well in the environmental stakes, choosing to respond to media questions with an essay about its ‘green’ policies.
“At Philips we see environmental improvement as an opportunity for innovation. Over the last three decades we have worked continuously to minimize the impacts of our products, processes and services. Our efforts in this are recognized in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes, which independently selects the top 10% most advanced companies in terms of sustainable development in the world. In the latest Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes Philips outperforms 135 of direct competitors in the area of sustainability. We have sympathy for the greater cause that Greenpeace is pursuing on the green issue and we invite them to look at all our efforts in sustainability in that respect,” Philips manager corporate communications and sustainability, Sarah Campbell, said in an email statement.
Judging by the Americanized spelling, the statement was taken from a corporate Philips website.
It continued: “With regards to recycling, our approach is based on collective responsibility to create a system that is efficient and works for all concerned. We cooperate with competitors to organize logistics and select certified recycling companies. We favor the visible fee for take-back and recycling, which consumers pay at time of purchase. This creates transparency and consumer awareness.
“We banned Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) in our packaging material in the mid-1990s and also banned it in typical applications such as blister packs for small products. Note that a lot of companies still use it today in packaging since it is cheaper and easier to use than other materials. We continue to investigate options to replace PVC in products and are evaluating the feasibility of a timeline for phase out. Our targeted time horizon is 2012, but can be subject to change depending on technical developments and economical feasibility.
“We also began to ban the use of Brominated Flame Retardants (BFR) in many product categories in 1998 and we are compliant with RoHS, which bans the placing on the EU market of new electrical and electronic equipment with certain Brominated Flame Retardants. We are evaluating the feasibility of a timeline for phase out of BFRs. Our targeted time horizon is 2012, but can be subject to change depending on technical developments, changes in safety regulations and economical feasibility.”
Philips’ defence follows a similar one by Nintendo, who claimed that it does take environmental issues seriously, contrary to Greenpeace’s claims.
The next worst company after Nintendo and Philips rated by Greenpeace was Microsoft, which defended itself with only the following rely:
“Microsoft is committed to environmental sustainability and has many programs and policies in place to lessen our footprint. In our consumer electronics business, we comply with and exceed all environmental guidelines and regulations. We are committed to making ongoing progress on environmental issues while maintaining product durability, safety and performance,” the company’s PR representative said.
The guide took into account precautionary principles, chemicals management, timeline for PVC phaseout, timeline for BFR phaseout, PVC-free and/or BFR-free models, support for individual producer responsibility, provides voluntary takeback where no EPR laws exist, provides info for individual consumers on takeback in all countries where products are sold, and reports on amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment collected and recycled.
The Greenpeace Guide To Greener Electronics ranked Sony Ericsson at the top of the list with a score of 7.7, becoming the new winner over Samsung which came in at second place. Following in order was Sony, Dell, Lenovo, Toshiba, LGE, Fujitsu-Siemens, Nokia, HP, Apple, Acer, Panasonic, Motorola, Sharp, Microsoft, Philips and finally Nintendo.