Greenpeace hits Toshiba, Nintendo

Duo fall flat in 'Guide to Greener Electronics' environment report; Sony Ericsson shines

by Setsuko Kamiya

Nintendo Co. and giant Toshiba Corp. ranked among the least environmentally friendly consumer electronics firms, while Nokia and Sony Ericsson led the way in providing green products, according to a report released Wednesday by Greenpeace Japan.

The international environmental group released its 15th quarterly ranking in Tokyo, called the “Guide to Greener Electronics,” which rates 18 major manufacturers of mobile phones, computers, TVs and game consoles. The group compares the firms’ recycling efforts as well as their progress in reducing toxic substances from their products.

The aim of the ranking is to hold companies responsible for the full life cycle of their products, while providing that information to consumers, they said.

In the latest ranking, Toshiba earned penalty points and dropped from third place in the previous ranking in December to 14th because it had backtracked on its commitment to eliminate toxic substances in all its consumer electronics by April 1, Greenpeace’s Iza Kruszewska said.

Previously, Toshiba had scored high among the six Japanese companies surveyed.

Nintendo was ranked at the bottom largely because the firm has yet to release enough information necessary for the ranking and refuses to work with Greenpeace, according to Kruszewska.

Overall, Japanese consumer electronics manufacturers perform well in the energy efficiency category, but — with the exception of Sony Corp. — are among the worst in their use of renewable energy sources for their products, Greenpeace said.

In the latest report, Panasonic Co. and Sony Corp. tied for sixth place. Phillips finished in third, while Motorola and Apple Computer rounded out the top six. Sharp came in ninth after HP, and Fujitsu Ltd. came in 15th after Toshiba.

South Korea’s LG Electronics slipped to 12th from sixth and Samsung to 13th from ninth.

Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, and LG Electronics were also hit with penalty points for backtracking on their promises.

“Samsung is the first company to get a second penalty point because they not only broke their commitment but failed to give a new timeline for eliminating PVC and BFRs in TVs,” Kruszewska said.

Greenpeace targets the elimination of two toxic chemicals in particular — polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) — because they are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in human bodies.