Photo via Bigpresh via Flickr Creative Commons
Newsweek released it's top picks for environmentally-focused companies in the US, naming what it sees as our 100 greenest. Ranked at the top is Dell -- and in fact IT companies were the clear leaders in the rankings with HP taking second and IBM third, which helps put the focus on technology and electronics, both as a benefit and problem. According to Newsweek, Dell earned its perfect 100% score through walking the talk:
Dell got high marks for its strong environmental policies, including free recycling of products worldwide and a ban on the export of e-waste to developing countries. But while feel-good policies may win the trust of potential customers, offering more efficient products closes the sale. And Dell has figured out how to do both, designing desktops and laptops that consume 25 percent less energy than systems produced in 2008. Dell figures these efforts, along with others, have saved its customers more than $5 billion in energy costs over the past few years.
It's true that Dell has been an industry leader on many improvements in both company functions and product impact -- it is in strong contention with Apple as having the greenest electronics available on the market, and has been at the forefront of industry moves like controlling e-waste. However, it should be expected since the IT industry also has an enormous footprint in the first place.
Greenpeace brings the company back down from the clouds, with Casey Harrell of Greenpeace International stating, "While we congratulate Dell, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM on their top billing on Newsweek's 2010 Green Rankings, this assessment further highlights the need for these leading green IT companies to become greater advocates for strong political leadership to combat climate change...The IT industry lobbies heavily in Washington DC, Brussels, and state and provincial capitals on many initiatives, but, with a few exceptions, punches well below its weight on climate change policies."
Rankings like these never fail to rile people up, since it goes to highlight what companies are doing wrong, or what they're doing right but not enough of it. And these rankings are only of the largest publicly traded companies, not of all businesses in general. Still, they help to bring green efforts to the forefront and heighten the competitive spirit of businesses around environmental responsibility. Dell is not a perfect company, but it is certainly trying, as evidenced here. With additional nudging from players like Greenpeace, it can do even more to advance sustainable initiatives across the IT industry from reducing materials use to recycling to decreasing energy consumption for everyone. As stated by Newsweek:
In their quest to create products that are cheaper to manufacture and operate, tech firms are devising solutions that have the added benefit of saving energy or reducing waste. Hewlett-Packard, No. 2, says its current IT systems use 66 percent less energy than those designed in 2005. "A lot of the innovation in this space is coming out of business pressure," says Michael Mendenhall, HP's chief marketing officer.
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