We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,258 News Articles

Greenpeace: Gadgets not green enough

Lenovo tops list of 15 companies but improvements needed

Consumer electronics products should be greener, says environmental campaign group Greenpeace International.

In its 'Green Electronics: the search continues' report, the group evaluated 50 products from 15 companies, identified by the manufacturers as their most environmentally friendly models, but found that none of them performed well against all criteria.

Greenpeace discovered that fewer of the products contained PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic and other hazardous chemicals, compared to those tested a year ago. In the past, it has campaigned vigorously against the use of toxic materials in products.

One thing that changed for the better in 2008 was the increasing use of LED displays, which avoid the use of backlights containing mercury, and are also more energy efficient, Greenpeace said. Companies are also using recycled materials, for example in TV and monitor casings, and are increasing the volume of old products that they take back for recycling.

Despite all these improvements, the best-rated product, Lenovo's L2440x computer monitor, only scored 6.9 out of 10. The second-placed product was also a monitor, Fujitsu Siemens Computers' ScenicView P22W-5 Eco, with 6.33.

See our Laptop Advisor website for expert reviews of today's best laptops, plus read our essential advice to make sure you choose the right specs

Lenovo's weakest link was energy use. It lost points for not tracking the energy used to manufacture the monitor, and could have done better by providing more information about the monitor's energy-saving mode. It could have scored an easy point by fitting a real off switch that physically cuts all current. Instead, like many devices, it has a standby switch that contributes to so-called 'phantom' power consumption by maintaining power to some of its circuitry even when it is apparently turned off.

Lenovo also lost marks for exploiting exemptions in the European Union directive on the reduction of hazardous substances (RoHS), which allows companies to continue using banned toxic chemicals in their products in certain circumstances.

Other companies have shown that they can do better in the categories where Lenovo fell down. If a manufacturer were to follow the best practices of any of the companies seen by Greenpeace in each category (energy use, reduction of toxic chemicals, recycling and so on), then it would score 8.6 out of 10.

Lenovo was also the top scorer in the desktop computer category - although that business unit clearly still has much to learn from the monitor division, as its ThinkCenter 58/M58p only scored 5.88 out of 10, narrowly beating Fujitsu Siemens Computers' Esprimo E7935 E-Star 4, which scored 5.73.

In the laptop category, Lenovo's X300 only made third place with 4.68 points, behind the Toshiba Portege R600 at 5.57 points and the HP Elitebook 2530p, which scored 5.48.

Nokia's 6210 Navigator was the greenest smartphone tested by Greenpeace, scoring 5.2 out of 10. Apple declined to take part in the study, so Greenpeace can't tell us how the iPhone 3G would have rated.

Apple iPhone 3G review

It's not only the actual product, manufacturers need to improve when it comes to being environmentally friendly, they need to tackle consumer opinions too. A recent survey by the Consumer Electronics Association found that 65 percent of consumers think manufacturers overstate their green credentials, while 40 percent of them are confused by manufacturers' claims.

See also: Half of TV makers fail recycling test

IDG UK Sites

Best camera phone of 2015: iPhone 6 Plus vs LG G4 vs Galaxy S6 vs One M9 vs Nexus 6

IDG UK Sites

In defence of BlackBerrys

IDG UK Sites

Why we should reserve judgement on Apple ditching Helvetica in OS X/iOS for the Apple Watch's San...

IDG UK Sites

Retina 3.3GHz iMac 27in preview: Apple cuts £400 of price of Retina iMac with new model