Wed, Oct 18, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Greenpeace says tech giants ignore sustainability

By Lin Chia-nan  /  Staff reporter

Greenpeace International yesterday issued a report giving technology giants Samsung Electronics, Amazon and Huawei, as well as Taiwanese firms Acer and Asustek Computer, failing marks for their environmental impact.

The survey of 17 major electronic device manufacturers, published as the “Guide to Greener Electronics” (www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/detox/electronics/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics) evaluated the companies according to their performance in energy transformation, resource depletion and management of chemical materials.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the introduction of the Apple’s iPhone, which provides a good opportunity for people to reflect on the environmental responsibility of electronics manufacturers, Greenpeace Taiwan Rethink IT project manager Lee Chih-an (李之安) told a news conference in Taipei.

Consumption of electronic gadgets leads to higher carbon emissions and a worsened environment, since major electronics brands have their manufacturing bases in Asian nations where electricity is generated mainly by coal-fired plants, Lee said.

Electronics are often made difficult to maintain and repair, leading to more waste, and the survey is aimed at encouraging people to choose more durable and “greener” products, she said.

No manufacturer earned an “A” grade in the survey, but the Netherlands-based Fairphone came out on top with a “B” for using recycled metals where others generally use plastic materials.

Fairphone’s products also feature modular designs, which allow for easier repair and upgrading, Lee said.

Apple earned a “B-” for its attempts at sustainability.

However, it still needs to improve its product design, given most of its products are difficult to repair and maintain, Lee said.

Amazon earned an “F,” Huawei a “D” and Samsung a “D-” for lack of attention to carbon emissions and not embracing renewable energy, the survey said.

Acer earned a “D+” and Asustek Computer a “D,” with Lee citing Acer’s solar power plant in Taoyuan’s Longtan District (龍潭) that opened in August and its promise to cut carbon emissions at its global subsidiaries by 60 percent by 2020 for its slightly better grade.

It is time Taiwan’s manufacturers and recyclers develop new industrial models, she said.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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