ewaste.jpgGreenpeace, the environmental activist group, has given China's Lenovo top marks for its practices for handling electronic waste — a growing problem in the high-tech industry.

Lenovo has jumped from last place in Greenpeace's green ranking of
electronics manufacturers to top position in just six months, knocking
Nokia, the traditional leader down to second place. Sony Ericsson came
third, Dell fourth and Samsung fifth.

Lenovo got top marks for its handling of end-of-life equipment — it
offers take-back and recycling in all the countries where its products
are sold. Lenovo also reports the amount of e-waste it recycles as a percentage of its sales.

Lenovo's achievement will come as a surprise to western critics who
believe that Chinese firms prefer to put profits before environmental
concerns. Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace's International Toxics Campaigner,
said:

Given the growing mountains of e-waste in China – both imported and
domestically generated – it is heartening to see a Chinese company
taking the lead, and assuming responsibility at least for its own
branded waste. The challenge for the industry now is to see who will
actually place greener products on the market.”

China has traditionally paid scant attention to the problem of
electronic waste. Indeed, in China's “recycling towns”, e-waste is not
a problem, but a huge opportunity as almost all of the west's discarded
electronic devices ends up in China — see this EngagingChina story for more.

Greenpeace contrasts Lenovo's achievement with Apple, which despite
its hip image, comes last in its green ranking. Apple products contain
hazardous substances which other manufacturers have committed to stop
using and its take-back policy is currently limited to the US,
according to the environment group.

We suspect that Lenovo's green concerns have largely been inherited
from IBM, whose computer division it acquired in 1995. No matter. Given
the company's challenges in marketing the unknown Lenovo brand in the
west, perhaps it should consider pushing its environmental achievements
to the fore and promote Lenovo as the “green” PC brand.

More on Greenpeace's ranking here .


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