Tokyo: Nokia and Sony Ericsson make some of the world`s most environmentally sound electronics, while Nintendo and Toshiba are among the least eco-friendly, Greenpeace claims in a green guide released on Wednesday.
The group in its quarterly study rates 18 major companies for their progress on phasing out hazardous substances, recycling electronic waste and improving energy efficiency to avert global warming.
It targets the elimination of two toxic chemicals in particular -- polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BRFs) -- because they are persistent in the environment and can accumulate in human bodies.
Nintendo took the bottom rank, said Greenpeace researcher Iza Kruszewska, launching the report in Tokyo`s Akihabara electronics district.
She added the gaming giant "is the only company that has never engaged in dialogue with Greenpeace" among the big industry players.
Toshiba, which makes electronics as well as nuclear power plants, dropped from third in December to 14th in the latest ranking of the "Guide to Greener Electronics", said Kruszewska.
Toshiba had earned penalty points "for breaking its promises that all its consumer electronics products should have been free of PVC and BFRs by April 1 this year", she said.
"They are hazardous in their production but even more so in the end-of-life (stage), when products containing these substances are recycled in substandard conditions like we see in China, India," she said.
She said highly toxic dioxins are released when collectors of electronics trash burn the PVC cables to recover the copper inside them or cook circuit boards with acid to recover gold.
Nokia took the top spot and Sony Ericsson came second. Philips edged up to the third place from the fourth in December, followed by Motorola, up from the eighth, and Apple which remained unchanged at the fifth.
Panasonic and Sony shared sixth place, followed by HP, Sharp, and Dell.
South Korea`s LG Electronics and Samsung slipped to the 12th and 13th from sixth and ninth, respectively.
Microsoft was the third from bottom and Lenovo was second-worst.
Greenpeace imposed penalty points on Samsung, Dell, Lenovo, LG Electronics and Toshiba for backtracking on their promises.
"Samsung is the first company to get a second penalty point because they not only broke their commitment but failed to give a new timeline for eliminating PVC and BFRs in TVs," Kruszewska said.
She noted that eliminating the toxic materials from manufacturing is important as flows of electronic waste from rich countries to poorer countries are hard to stop.
"We are seeing more and more products are rolling out which are free of PVCs and BFRs from companies like HP, Acer and also two Indian brands, Wipro and HCL," she said. Wipro and HCL are not covered in the ranking.
"In general, Japanese companies perform best on energy and weakest on e-waste and chemical criteria," she said, adding "no Japanese company has launched products completely free of PVC and brominated flame retardants."