Smart, not green
Greenpeace is panning smartphone makers for changing the design of their products in a way that accelerates the replacement cycle and shortens the useful life of otherwise functional devices. “Apple, Microsoft, and Samsung are among the companies moving in the wrong direction on sustainable product design. HP, Dell, and Fairphone are the notable exceptions to this trend, producing a growing number of products that are repairable and upgradable,” the environmental lobby organisation says.
And while Chinese smartphone brands are rapidly gaining global market share, they are showing a distinct lack of green commitment, with the likes of Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi come up short on transparency and substantial commitment to renewable energy. “Huawei, now one of the top three smartphone brands in the world, has yet to realise its tremendous potential in environmental leadership,” Greenpeace says.
And there’s retail giant Amazon. “Amazon remains one of the least transparent companies in the world in terms of its environmental performance, as it still refuses to report the greenhouse gas footprint of its own operations. … The company provides few details on its sourcing of recycled materials that are going into its devices, nor does it publish any restrictions on hazardous chemicals in its devices or being used in its supply chain as other leading electronics brands provide.”
For the record, Fairphone, Apple and Dell come out best on Greenpeace’s 2017 Company Report Card, with Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi rated as the worst.