June 25, 2008

Greenpeace Ranks Nintendo As Least Green Tech Firm

Video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd has been ranked the world's least environmentally friendly electronics company by the quarterly Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics. The publication graded 18 electronics firms according to how "green" their products and operations are.   

Most companies saw their rankings plunge in the latest review, due to new evaluation guidelines that the charity has made more stringent.

Earlier this year, Greenpeace accused Nintendo of having a "non-existent" environmental policy.

Nintendo explained its low score by saying it had not provided any data for the survey.

"Greenpeace chose to conduct a survey and produce a report, which graded companies upon the voluntary submission of information," said the firm in a statement.

"Nintendo decided not to take part in the survey and were therefore 'ungraded' in the resulting report."

But Greenpeace disagreed with the company's statement, and insisted it had indeed been graded.

"There is no choice," Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner for Greenpeace, said in an interview with BBC News.

Kruszewska added that the charity had routinely contacted Nintendo since 2007, but had received no response. The organization had been forced to use data obtained from Nintendo's website, she said.

"They've decided not to engage."

The guide is now in its eight edition, having published its initial version in August 2006. It ranks the market-leading firms in the mobile phone, computer, TV and game console industries according to their practices and policies relating to toxic chemicals and recycling.

The guide has already succeeded in reducing the amount of toxic chemicals used in the electronics industry, Greenpeace said.

"We know that brands are putting pressure on their suppliers to meet our commitments," Ms Kruszewska told BBC News.

This year's edition included stricter guidelines by which the firms were evaluated.

"For this edition we tightened the e-waste and chemical criteria and we also added a new energy requirement," Ms Kruszewska said.

The new energy guidelines grade firms for disclosing their greenhouse gas emissions, their commitment to cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and support for mandatory global emissions reductions. The charity has also asked companies to declare their support for a "strong post Kyoto agreement" on their global websites.

"We see companies scoring zero on all energy criteria," said Ms Kruszewska.

"Clearly it is going to take companies some time to improve on our demands,"

The latest edition also evaluated the energy efficiency of a selection of each company's products to determine if they meet or exceed the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Energy Star rating, which sets minimum standards for energy efficiency for several types of electronic products.

"Not only should all their products meet these standards, but 30% should exceed it to score full marks," said Ms Kruszewska.

Sony and Sony Ericsson were the only companies to score more than five out of 10 in the latest guide. Nintendo brought up the rear of the list with a score of less than one.  Microsoft ranked second to last, due to its "low score on climate criteria".

"Microsoft is committed to environmental sustainability and has many programs and policies in place to lessen our footprint," said a Microsoft spokesman, according to a BBC News report.

"In our consumer electronics business, we comply with and exceed all environmental guidelines and regulations.

"We are committed to making ongoing progress on environmental issues while maintaining product durability, safety and performance."


On the Net:

Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics