Asus Sits Atop Green IT Product Survey from Greenpeace

Asus Sits Atop Green IT Product Survey from Greenpeace

With CES taking on an increasingly green sheen, it's only appropriate that Greenpeace published the results of its third annual survey of electronics manufacturers during this week's event.

In seven categories of electronics, Asus led with two products at the top of the heap, as well as the highest-scoring product surveyed, the Asus VW-247H-HF monitor.

Among the other categories, Asus also led with the greenest notebook computer, while HP can boast the greenest desktop and Acer landed the greenest netbook computer. Samsung's Blue Earth mobile phone led that category, Sony Ericsson made the greenest smartphone, and Sharp took the top spot in the television category.

Greenpeace noted three main trends from this year's report:

Significant reductions in the use of hazardous chemicals. More products than ever before are PVC-free and BFR-free. The use of phthalates, as well as beryllium and antimony and their associated compounds, are being eliminated in every product category. Although the previous survey showed that the use of RoHS exemptions could be drastically reduced, we have yet to see this progress in the industry.

Exceeding energy efficiency standards. Almost all products meet or exceed the current Energy Star standards established by the US EPA. Electronics companies seem to put much more effort in improving the energy efficiency of their products rather than assessing thoroughly (and reducing) the "embedded energy" -- that is, the energy spent during the production of each product.

Product lifecycle responsibility must improve. Lifecycle management is still the weakest point of electronic products, with very little use of recycled plastic, a variety of take-back practices (generally improving) and little marketing efforts to prevent fast obsolescence of products.

"Our survey shows that electronics manufacturers have made demonstrable progress over the past few years in producing products that are free of the worst toxic chemicals, more energy efficient and more easily taken back for reuse and recycling," Renee Blanchard, toxics campaigner for Greenpeace, explained in an interview with V3. "This report allows the industry to do what it does best; compete for a new perspective and innovate on environmental policies."

Greenpeace ranked products based on their performance in four areas: The use of hazardous chemicals, power consumption, product lifecycle, and innovation and marketing.

While the report does cite the good progress made on many fronts, companies are still falling short in two key areas of end-of-life management: Product recycling and designing products to last longer.

Furthermore, some companies returned limited information, or none at all: Apple and Philips failed to return the surveys to Greenpeace.

The full report, "Towards Green Electronics," is available for download from GreenBiz.com.