Consumer technology must do more to reduce energy footprint, says Greenpeace

4th September 2014

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  • Minimisation


Jacqueline Piper

Electronics companies are failing to address their growing energy footprint, according to a report published by Greenpeace International.

The manufacturing of phones, laptops and other devices requires a huge amount of energy and is concentrated in East Asia where coal dominates energy production, the report states.

Some companies such as Lenovo and Huawei are setting a positive example with small solar installations on factories, while Apple is planning the first 100% renewable energy factory to make iPhone screens, Greenpeace found.

However, the campaign group believes that gadgets will only cut their footprint with ambitious targets to expand renewable energy.

The study, released ahead of a major European consumer technology show on Friday, also evaluates the progress of 16 consumer electronics companies in eliminating hazardous chemicals and building sustainable supply chains.

Greenpeace ranked Apple number one as it is the only company to have eliminated the use of hazardous substances such as brominated- flame retardants and polyvinylchloride.

Samsung, meanwhile, has failed to meet its goals for eliminating chemicals from products beyond mobiles and has backtracked on a previous commitment to phase out such chemicals, Greenpeace said. Dell and Microsoft have also dropped their phase-out commitment, while Amazon is failing to provide any information to the public, according to the report.

The electronics industry needs to follow the example of the textile industry in eliminating hazardous chemicals from its supply chain, Greenpeace said, adding that it also needs to address its business model, which is reliant on ever-increasing consumption.

Greenpeace head of IT Andrew Hatton said: “The innovative electronics industry is perfectly placed to reimagine their manufacturing and marketing processes. They’re designing our future, and we need that future to be a lot cleaner and greener than where we are now.”

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