Indian technology giant Wipro topped the ranking in its first appearance in the Guide to Greener Electronics released by Greenpeace International today. The guide, in its 18th
version, ranked 16 electronic companies across the world based on their commitment and progress in three environment criteria: Energy and Climate, Greener Products and Sustainable Operations.
While most of the ICT companies have made progress in removing toxic chemicals from the mobile phones, computers and tablets they produce, barring few, their manufacturing and supply chains are still too heavily dependent on dirty energy sources that are contributing to climate change while at the same time lagging behind in effectively managing e-waste they produce, particularly in India.
Wipro scored the most points due to its efforts to embrace renewable energy and advocacy for greener energy policies in India. Wipro also scored well for post-consumer e-waste collection for recycling and for phasing out hazardous substances from its products.
“Wipro has set a new benchmark for sustainability, not only in India but across the globe, that will have a long-term impact in shaping the green energy debate in the electronics industry,” said Greenpeace India Senior Campaigner Abhishek Pratap. “The rest of the electronics sector should follow in the footsteps of Wipro’s climate leadership.”
HP dropped from No. 1 in last year’s edition of the guide to No. 2. Nokia moved up from No. 4 to No. 3. Taiwanese computer maker Acer was the most improved company in the guide, moving up nine spots to No. 4 for engaging with its suppliers on greenhouse gas emissions, hazardous substances, conflict minerals and fibre sourcing
. Dell dropped from No. 3 to No. 5. Apple dropped slightly from No. 5 in last year’s edition to No. 6. Blackberry maker RIM did not improve from its 16th
ranking, the bottom of the group.
As the Indian version of Guide to Greener Electronics has been merged with the International version, all the companies have also been assessed on their performance on managing the e-waste, generated from their products in India (3). Only two companies Wipro and Samsung have shown strong e-waste management programme which can be seen as best in class practice. Their programme consists of e-waste collection, recycling and phasing out of hazardous chemicals from the products, setting a new bench mark for other companies to follow in India and elsewhere. Many global companies did not even develop an e-waste management programme for India which casts a doubt on their ability to meet obligation put on them under the newly enacted E-waste (Management and Handling) rule. An ambitious collection target of 20 % can be set up under the new rule.
As global electronics use grows, only corporate environmental leadership can prevent increased electronic waste and ensure that the industry transitions to using clean energy to manufacture its products. Electronic companies have also gained political power in many countries, meaning their advocacy for clean energy can impact government policy.
"Given the massive energy crisis around the world including caused by depleting & polluting fossil fuel, the next big environmental challenge for consumer electronics companies is to reduce their carbon pollution," said Greenpeace International IT analyst Casey Harrell. "Companies should work with their suppliers to implement more efficient manufacturing processes and to power the supply chain with renewable energy, not fossil fuels, just as they have successfully done to reduce the toxic materials in electronics.” Harrel added.