Greenpeace has announced that Toshiba and Samsung top its latest environmental ranking of consumer electronics companies. But Nintendo is still struggling near the bottom.
Published today, the Greenpeace ranking scores the world's largest consumer electronics companies based on their recycling policies and the toxic content of their products.
Toshiba climbed six ranks to tie at the top with previous leader Samsung, thanks to moves towards taking care of the electronic waste generated when its customers discard its products.
Toshiba had previously been a member of the Electronic Manufacturers' Coalition for Responsible Recycling, a US group that favours making consumers contribute to the cost of recycling, but like some other manufacturers it has now left the group.
"This was a major step for Toshiba and follows LG, Samsung and Sony," said Al Hajj.
Toshiba declined to comment on the ranking.
One-time leader Nokia was again penalised for its take-back recycling program. Greenpeace previously found that staff in the Philippines, Thailand, Argentina, Russia and India were not informed about the program or that details of the scheme were not available in a local language. This time around improvements were seen but Russia and India remained problematic.
"They have to prove they are interested in recycling beyond the western world," said Al Hajj.
Had Nokia not been penalised it would have led the new ranking with a record-breaking score of 8.3.
One of the biggest jumps in the ranking since it was first published in August 2006 has been attained by Apple. Apple has risen from 2.7 points to 6.7 points in the new edition thanks to new products such as the MacBook Air that use less toxic chemicals, said Greenpeace.
However Japan's Nintendo, manufacturer of the hugely popular Wii console and DS handheld gaming device, remains stuck near the bottom. It was introduced in the last survey and immediately became the only company to have ever scored zero. In the new ranking it has risen slightly to 0.3 points.
The low ranking reflects a failure on Nintendo's part to provide detailed information about its environmental policies.
"Nintendo has been sending out a pretty lame response to emails on the subject, which tells you mainly about office recycling," wrote Greenpeace in a blog posting on its website.
Nintendo said it couldn't provide detailed comment on the report because it hadn't seen it.
A spokesman for the Kyoto, Japan, company, Yasuhiro Minagawa, said criticism of recycling information supplied with its products was "based on the assumption that recycling is good for the environment".
The next edition of the ranking is due out in June this year. The new ranking will be based on tighter criteria and be expanded to include measurements on energy consumption - not just of the products but also their production - and whether the company has eliminated the use of PVC and bromine flame retardants in products.
"It's not enough to tackle energy consumption of the products alone but also the production process and the amount of greenhouse gas emitted," said Al Hajj.
Earlier this month, at the CeBIT electronics show in Germany, Greenpeace called for consumer electronics companies to provide more information on the amount of energy used in the production and distribution stages of a product's life.