Apple gets low score in Greenpeace e-waste report

Environmental group Greenpeace on Wednesday issued the first quarterly update on the technology industry’s performance on environmental issues. While the group recognized many companies are improving Apple does not appear to be among them — Apple remains in last place.

“We were surprised they were in last place again,” Zeina Alhajj, campaign coordinator for Greenpeace, told Macworld. “We are hoping that by the next ranking they will be the biggest mover.”

The report ranks the 14 top manufacturers of personal computers and cell phones. Most companies, according to Greenpeace, now score above average points on the ranking guide, with only five companies failing to score even the average of five points. No company has yet to receive better than a 7 out of 10 rating.

Apple’s rating is listed at 2.7, according to Alhajj. Factors affecting the company’s score include its policies for chemicals, not taking responsibility for its waste and not being clear on the chemicals they want to ban like other companies are doing, said Alhajj.

“What was surprising for this report is that Apple is the only compnay hasn’t moved at all — all other companies have improved on at least one of the categories,” said Alhajj.

While Apple does have a computer take back program started earlier this year, Alhajj said that as a worldwide company Apple needs to take its responsibility to that level.

Greenpeace said it has been trying to work with Apple and have been meeting with the computer maker, but have not received a satisfactory commitment from the company.

“We’ve been in meetings with Apple for three years now,” said Alhajj. “We have asked for a commitment, but Apple said ‘we don’t give commitments, we do things.’ We haven’t seen any commitments, so far.”

Representatives from Apple were not immediately available for comment.

Greenpeace then decided to launch a Web site called Green My Apple to push Apple along in its commitment to e-waste. “When we launched the web site we wanted to see Apple really lead the way and put on a greener program,” said Alhajj.

Since the launch of the Website, Greenpeace said it hasn't received a response from Apple.

Nokia continues to hold the top spot in the ranking for both its chemicals policy as well as disposal of electronic waste. Competitor Motorola, which was ranked second worst in the original September report, is seen as the fastest mover taking over the fourth spot in the latest report.

Fujitsu-Siemens and Acer made substantial progress and are now ranked 3rd and 7th respectively, moving up from their earlier 10th and 12th positions.

LGE, Samsug and Sony have lost points for failing to act on their commitments to individual producer responsibility. HP was given a “penalty” — one point was deducted from the company’s overall score for using a product the company claimed was no longer being used.

Update: Added information from interview with Greenpeace.

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