India’s Wipro Tops Greenpeace Green Electronics List

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Follow on: Google +

Wipro has won Greenpeace’s praise but Apple and Dell get criticism

Indian tech giant Wipro has topped Greenpeace’s latest ranking of electronics firms, its first appearance on the list, while Acer advanced nine spots and Dell and Apple dropped slightly.

The ranking of 16 electronics companies appears in Greenpeace’s 18th Guide to Greener Electronics, launched in 2006. Greenpeace was impressed with Wipro’s efforts to embrace renewable energy and its advocacy for greener energy policies in India, as well as e-waste recycling efforts and phasing out hazardous substances from its products. Wipro jumped into the list in the top spot, displacing  HP, which was number one last year,

Carbon pollution

Greenpeace said that companies have made progress at removing toxic chemicals from their products, but need to focus next on their dependency on dirty energy sources that contribute to climate change.

“The next big environmental challenge for consumer electronics companies is to reduce their carbon pollution,” said Greenpeace International IT analyst Casey Harrell, in a statement.

Harrell said that companies’ carbon footprint is largely down to the practices in place in the supply chain, meaning that effective changes will require companies to work with their suppliers to put more efficient manufacturing processes in place and to encourage the use of renewable energy.

Overall, Wipro merited a score of 7.1 points, significantly ahead of all the other companies ranked. In second place was HP, with 5.7 points, followed by Nokia with 5.4 and Acer with 5.1 points.

While Wipro’s electronics manufacturing business is relatively small, Greenpeace said it should be seen as a model for other companies. “The rest of the electronics sector should follow in the footsteps of Wipro’s climate leadership,” stated Greenpeace India senior campaigner Abhishek Pratap.

Greenpeace praised HP for discouraging the use of raw materials such as gold, tin and tungsten that originate from conflict areas, while Nokia scored well for the energy-efficiency of its products. HP ranked No. 1 in last year’s report, when it deposed Nokia from the top spot.

Praise for Apple

Apple kept the same score of 4.6 from the last list, but dropped in rank from 5 to 6 due to the improvements of its competitors. Meanwhile, RIM remained at the bottom of the list with 2.0 points.

Greenpeace said Apple scored well on its use of renewable energy and the energy efficiency of products such as Macs, which are also free of toxic chemicals. However, the company’s score was reduced due to the fact that it doesn’t disclose information on areas such as the life cycles of its products, its clean-energy policy or specific measurements for its greenhouse gas emissions.

Greenpeace noted that the growing popularity of iPads and iPhones is also increasing Apple’s emissions footprint, which grows with each generation of Apple products. However, the company was praised for its recycling programmes, its use of renewable energy and working with its supply chain on environmentally friendly policies.

Apple has said it wants to make its Maiden, North Carolina data centre completely reliant on renewable energy by the end of this year, and is also increasing the use of cleaner forms of energy at its California headquarters.

Apple has had a turbulent relationshp with Greenpeace in recent months. In April Greenpeace criticised Apple, along with Amazon and Microsoft, for their heavy reliance on power sources such as coal for their data centres, prompting Apple to respond that its Maiden data centre is on track to be “the greenest data centre ever built”.

In October Greenpeace expressed disappointment with the decision to keep some Apple laptops on the EPEAT register for environmentally friendly products – “despite clear recycling problems”.

Do you know all about UK tech leader ARM Holdings? Take our quiz!