Which tech companies ‘walk the talk’ of ecological awareness?

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Rating the ecology of tech companies
By Michelle Robertson
The winners and sinners in the electronics sector were revealed by Greenpeace in their 2017 Guide to Greener Electronics. The guide is a culmination of research into the  “transparency, commitment, performance and advocacy efforts” of the major players in the technology business. It is part of the ‘Rethink-IT’ campaign which aims to highlight how these companies could improve by switching to cleaner energy sources, reducing their consumption by using recycled materials, and making their products fully repairable.

Coming out on top of the overall ratings was Fairphone which makes an ethical smartphone that is conflict-free, fully repairable, recyclable, and built by workers receiving a fair wage. Apple was surprisingly rated as the second best company, and they were praised by Greenpeace for significantly increasing their use of renewable energy sources. However, the company still has work to do in terms of resource consumption - especially when it comes to the reparability of devices – but it was recognised for eliminating hazardous chemicals in its manufacturing.  

Most of the other companies, including the giants Amazon and Samsung, did not fare so well, and received a ‘must try harder’ rating. Amazon was criticized mainly for the lack of transparency about its environmental footprint, and the fact there are no restrictions on the use of hazardous chemicals in its products and supply chain. Samsung did only slightly better, but they were reprimanded for a lack of commitment to reducing environmental impact, very little transition to renewable sources of energy, and “a lack of leadership and transparency on environmental issues”.

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