There is no question that smartphones, PCs, and other computing devices have changed the world and our day-to-day lives in incredible ways.
But behind this innovative 21st-century technology lie supply chain and manufacturing processes still reliant on 19th-century sources of energy, dangerous mining practices, hazardous chemicals, and poorly designed products that drive consumption of the Earth’s resources.
This hidden reality stands in stark contrast to the forward-thinking, environmentally conscious image most IT companies project. Greenpeace launched the Rethink-IT campaign to challenge the IT sector to take responsibility for its rapidly growing footprint on the planet.
The Guide to Greener Electronics (the Guide, published by Greenpeace USA) provides an analysis of what 17 of the world’s leading consumer electronics companies are doing to address their environmental impacts, and where Greenpeace thinks work still needs to be done.
From 2006 to 2012, Greenpeace published the Guide with regularity, and as a result saw steady progress from companies to eliminate hazardous materials from products and make them more energy-efficient.
Now, it is clear the impacts of the linear take-make-waste business model employed by device manufacturers extend beyond the concerns of hazardous e-waste.
With the relaunch of the Guide, we have focused on measuring three critical impact areas tied to product design and responsible supply chain management across the electronics sector:
Within each impact area, companies are graded on transparency, commitment, performance and advocacy efforts.
In this edition of the Guide, we have focused on the largest electronic device brands (smartphones, tablets, and personal computers) in East Asia, North America, and Europe.
Time to Re-Think IT
Billions of electronics are being made, sold, and disposed of every year - a cycle that drives short-term profits for electronics manufacturers, but at too high a cost for the planet we all share.