Greenpeace has claimed another victory in its Greener Electronics campaign after Sony announced plans for a free take back initiative.
The company had been awarded last place in the latest version of the lobby group's Guide to Greener Electronics, which ranks global electronics and IT companies based on their environmental policy, on the basis of "bad recycling policies and double standards on product take back in the US".
But last week Sony moved to address the problem with the launch of new recycling programme that will allows consumers to recycle all Sony-branded products free of charge at 75 recycling facilities throughout the US.
The programme, which begins on September 15th, will be operated by recycling specialist WM Recycle America and will also allow consumers to recycle other manufacturers' electronic equipment for a fee.
Sony said that it aimed to expand the scheme to at least 150 sites within a year with an eventual goal of having enough drop off locations that there is a recycling centre within 20 miles of 95 percent of the US population.
"Providing the highest level of service and support doesn't stop once a purchase is made," said Stan Glasgow, president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics. "We believe it is Sony's responsibility to provide customers with end-of-life solutions for all the products we manufacture."
The announcement came just days after the company claimed it had reduced power consumption in 90 percent of its product categories during 2006.
The moves represent a major coup for Greenpeace which has enjoyed considerable success since it launched its Greener Electronics ranking scheme last year and seems to have set a precedent for forcing action out of those companies awarded low rankings.
Lenovo, one of the worst offenders in the first ranking published last year, has since climbed into the top spots after overhauling its environmental policies, while earlier this year Apple, which had previously occupied the worst offender slot in Greenpeace's ranking, unveiled a raft of green commitments seemingly designed to answer many of the lobby group's criticisms.
As Greenpeace observed on in its blog post responding to Sony's new initiative "who says shining a bright light on bad corporate practices doesn't bring results?"
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