Environmental watchdogs at Greenpeace have turned their attention to Microsoft and Nintendo, which they say are using toxic chemicals in the manufacturing processes for their video game systems and other products. And while both companies are near the bottom of Greenpeace's list of environmentally friendly electronics companies, Microsoft can at least take heart in one statistic: Nintendo scored dead last, and was the only company to score zero points out of a possible 10 in the rankings.
This month's list of electronics industry environmental disasters includes 18 companies, up from 14 in April. Back then, Apple ranked last, in 14th place, because of dangerous chemicals used in the manufacturing of iPods and iPhones. Apple has since raised its rank to 11th by pledging to remove toxic chemicals by 2008. However, Greenpeace found in October that the company was still using a variety of hazardous chemicals in both the external and internal components of its iPhone device. This was surprising, as the iPhone shipped after Apple fared poorly in the April report and had pledged to turn things around.
Microsoft was ranked 16th on this month's Greenpeace list, with 2.7 points, thanks largely to its use of toxic chemicals in the manufacturing processes for the Xbox 360 video game console and Zune digital media players. While Microsoft has pledged to eliminate these chemicals, it won't do so until 2011, which Greenpeace says is too long. Nintendo, by comparison, has no timetable at all for the removal of toxic chemicals from its manufacturing processes.
Microsoft was also criticized for its lack of hardware recycling programs of any kind outside of the EU, where such a measure is required by law. The company received 0 points in this category, the lowest possible score. Indeed, all of Microsoft's scores were in the "Bad" to "Partially Good" range; the company received no grades in the "Good" category.
Sony Ericsson and Samsung were tied for first place on the list, each obtaining a score of 7.7. The previous high scorer, Nokia, was knocked down to second place when Greenpeace spot checks of the company revealed that Nokia was not engaging in hardware recycling programs in five of the six countries in which it had pledged to do so.
Other notable companies in the top 5 include Sony (2nd place), Dell (3rd), Lenovo (4th), and Toshiba (5th). Sony's jump to 2nd place was the most dramatic improvement on this month's list, Greenpeace says.