Lenovo has jumped to leadership in Greenpeace International's influential, if controversial, rankings for environmentally-friendly technology companies.
The Chinese giant displaced Nokia in the third and latest Green Electronics Guide studying the policies and activities of 14 leading technology companies. The rankings mark a sharp improvement for Lenovo over the first Greenpeace poll of August 2006 where the firm ranked last of the vendors studied.
Lenovo ascribed it success to recent actions such as a free recycling programme and the phasing out of brominated flame retardants and PVC in products.
Greenpeace campaign coordinator Zeina al-Hajj said Lenovo's rapid rise is "a big surprise. Lenovo has made a massive improvement". She added that the firm's "transparency" of access to information was particularly praiseworthy.
Nokia was second in Greenpeace's listing, followed by Sony Ericsson, Dell and Samsung. However, Apple was once again bottom of the pile and Sony and LG were criticised by al-Hajj for "double standards".
"We discovered that in the US they believe it's not their responsibility but the consumers to collect equipment," she added.
The survey, together with Greenpeace's continued criticism, is likely to rankle with Apple which has refused to recognise Greenpeace's criteria.
Some observers have also noted that the survey does not match up with another ranking scheme, called the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which ranks several Apple products relatively highly. EPEAT is backed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"EPEAT uses totally different criteria," said al-Hajj. "They're focused on the product and we’re focused on the policy. We believe they're not as stringent and challenging to the industry as we are. Our purpose is to move the industry from abiding by law to driving change, and Apple is not taking leadership in design."
Al-Hajj said the next challenge for technology vendors will be to move a way from a strategy of "planned obsolescence" in product planning.
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