Sony hits bottom of Greenpeace eco rankings

Despite Sony's consistently poor showings, Greenpeace remains fixated on Apple

Despite Sony's consistently poor showings, Greenpeace remains fixated on Apple

Given Greenpeace's seeming obsession with Apple, I'm having an even more difficult time taking the environmental group's ongoing eco-policing of electronic companies seriously.

Greenpeace last week released the latest edition of its "Guide to Greener Electronics," in which it ranks fourteen companies based on particular environmental practices, such as their toxic-chemical policies and recycling programs.

This time around, Sony tumbled to the bottom of the list, down from 11th place. The reason for the drop: Greenpeace says Sony was "penalized for double standards on their waste policies" in terms of individual producer responsibility (IPR), referring to vendors taking responsibility for the environmental impact of their wares instead of expecting customers to do so.

"Sony is a founding member of the European Recycling Platform which supports IPR; however, in the U.S., Sony is part of a coalition that has been opposing producer responsibility and lobbying for U.S. consumers to pay an advanced recycling fee (ARF)," Greenpeace states in the current guide.

Lenovo, which was at the top of the heap last April, is now in third place. "Closer examination of Lenovo's takeback and recycling services has revealed some weaknesses e.g. time-limited takeback in Thailand, therefore Lenovo loses points on that criteria. Lenovo also still fails to score any points for providing models on the market that are free of PVC and BFRs," says the report.

Meanwhile Nokia crept to the No. 1 slot. "Nokia gets top marks for its support for [IPR], (each company should take care of the electronic waste from its own-branded discarded products). But, it loses points for poor reporting on the amounts of discarded mobiles that it recycles as a percentage of past sales."

Yet despite Sony's free-fall to last place, as well as the other changes in the rankings since April, Greenpeace appears utterly fixated on the fact that Apple managed to increase its standing from last place to tenth.

"Clearly, companies are racing to produce greener products" says Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace's toxics campaigner on the Greenpeace Web site. "Steve Job's latest commitment to eliminate toxics materials moved Apple up the chart and they now face a challenge, with the iPhone, to meet customer expectations to be the environmental leader Apple-lovers want."

Notably, Greenpeace has been criticizing Apple for its allegedly poor green practices for quite some time, even going to far as to launch a "Green my Apple" campaign.

So Greenpeace: If you are going to police the environmental practices of companies, I suggest that you be consistent -- if you want your rankings to be taken seriously. Yes, it's good to see that Apple is doing more for Mother Nature, but meanwhile, Sony, by your standards, has continued to slip over the past several months. Should we expect a flashy, targeted marketing campaign drawing attention to Sony?

Or are you determined to continue getting as much mileage as you can breathing down Apple's neck, even though the company ships far fewer products -- and thus has a relatively smaller environmental impact -- than Sony?


Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.