Greenpeace Slams Microsoft, Nintendo

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Greenpeace gave Microsoft and Nintendo abysmal rankings Tuesday on their efforts to phase out toxic chemicals from their game consoles.

Nintendo Co. became the first company to score zero out of a possible 10 points in the Greenpeace ranking of 18 leading electronics companies. It provided no information to consumers on the substances it uses in manufacturing or on its plans to cut hazardous materials, the environmental organization said.

Microsoft Corp., judged on its Zune MP3 player and Xbox game console, lost points for its pledge to eliminate toxic chemicals only in 2011 and for having no voluntary takeback program for electronic waste. It took 16th place.

Microsoft said in a statement that it is committed to environmental progress.

"In our consumer electronics business, we comply with and exceed all environmental guidelines and regulations," while ensuring the durability, safety and performance of products, the company said.

A public relations firm working for Nintendo said it was unaware of the Greenpeace report and was checking.

Greenpeace judges companies on their mechanisms for collecting used hardware and on their timelines for eliminating vinyl, or PVC, and fire-retardants that can be dangerous when released into the environment. It does not weigh companies' overall environmental portrait, though it will look at energy efficiency next year, said Greenpeace spokeswoman Iza Kruszweska.

Greenpeace added television and game consoles to the sixth issue of its 2-year-old ranking in recognition of their growing importance, especially as Americans cast off old TVs for digital receivers. Shipments of game consoles grew nearly 15 percent last year to 62.7 million units worldwide, Greenpeace said.

Greenpeace said TV producers Royal Philips Electronics NV and Sharp Corp. also have poor policies on taking back and recycling outdated products.

The most nature-friendly companies on Greenpeace's list were Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB and Samsung Corp., which each scored 7.7 points.

Greenpeace punished cell phone maker Nokia Corp., the list's former leader, and competitor Motorola Inc. for breaking pledges to take back used hardware in five of six countries where Greenpeace conducted spot checks.

A spokeswoman for Motorola said she would seek a corporate reply.

Nokia did not immediately respond to messages.

Since Greenpeace launched its scorecard in August 2006, some companies have complained of unfairness, but few have ignored the ranking.

"It's always good to have an independent perspective on what you're doing," said Andrew Goldman, communications manager for Philips consumer electronics.

Goldman said Philips, which scored 17th, first formulated green policies in the 1970s and announced a program in September to expand its portfolio of green products.

"But we are not in a position to be complacent. We need to do more, and it's becoming more of an issue."

After Apple Inc. ranked last among 14 companies in April, Chief Executive Steve Jobs pledged to remove vinyl and brominated flame retardants from all its products by 2008. That helped lift its ranking to 11.

Kruszweska said Greenpeace's first ranking looked at leading mobile phone and computer companies' handling of hazardous chemicals and waste.

Read about the rankings by clicking "Toxics News" here.


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