Over the years that I've been writing about green technology, I've seen a major rise in awareness of the environmental impact of our electronics, and some real accountability by some of the companies making them. It's hard to keep track of who is doing the work toward lessening their impact and who is ignoring the evidence, but luckily, Greenpeace did the research for us.
In their latest Guide to Greener Electronics, the organization's scorecard shows us the winners and sinners in the gadget making business. This is the first guide the organization has done in five years and this time around they focused on three major areas when scoring the companies: energy, resource consumption and chemicals. Within each of those areas the companies were graded on transparency, commitment, performance and advocacy efforts.
The company that made the highest grade was Fairphone, the makers of the ethical smartphone, which is conflict-free, fully repairable and recyclable, and is built by workers receiving a fair wage. Right behind Fairphone, and leading the major electronics makers, is Apple. Greenpeace praised the company for majorly increasing its renewable energy use and eliminating hazardous chemicals in manufacturing. The company still has work to do in terms of resource consumption, especially when it comes to the repairability of its devices.On the other end of the scorecard two major players, Amazon and Samsung. Amazon got a big fat F on the scorecard with the biggest criticism being their lack of transparency on its environmental footprint, particularly when it comes to greenhouse gases. It also publishes no restrictions on the use of hazardous chemicals in its products and supply chain.
Samsung fared only a little better on the scorecard. Greenpeace scolded the company on its lack of commitment to reduce its environmental impact, noting that not much has been done to transition to renewable sources of energy and that there is also a lack of leadership and transparency on environmental issues.
The highest score any company received was a B, which shows how far all electronics makers still need to go when it comes to switching to cleaner energy sources in and reducing their resource consumption by using recycled materials and making their products fully repairable.
You can read the report here and see more specifics on how each of the companies scored.