TECH

Amazon Performs Terribly In Greenpeace's Latest 'Greener Electronics' Report

'One of the least transparent companies in the world in terms of its environmental performance'

18/10/2017 12:23 BST | Updated 18/10/2017 13:30 BST

Greenpeace has released its latest ‘Greener Electronics’ report in which it ranks each of the major tech companies on their commitment to environmentally friendly practices.

While Apple featured as the second most responsible company, Amazon faced heavy criticism from the report with the authors going so far as to say it is “one of the least transparent companies in the world in terms of its environmental performance.”

Each company is given a score that is based on numerous factors that include the cleanliness of their supply chain, how reusable their products are and even their level advocacy on the political stage.

Greenpeace

As you can see from the scoring sheet, other poor performers include Samsung, Huawei and Asus.

The reports authors Gary Cook and Elizabeth Jardim criticised Amazon not only for its complete lack of transparency but also with the way it handles hazardous chemicals within its own supply chain.

“While Amazon highlights the importance it places on responsible sourcing, it provides little information beyond its broad supply chain standards.” states the report.

“Amazon does not publish details on whether it has placed restrictions or eliminated hazardous materials not covered by the current Rohs standard, such as PVC, brominated flame retardants, or phthalates, as many leading companies have done.”

Philippe Wojazer / Reuters

In terms of its commitment to change its supply chain for the better, the company also scored terribly.

“Amazon has not made any commitment to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its products or the manufacturing process of its supply chain,” the report concludes.

Oddly despite its own lack of transparency, Amazon scored well in one single are and that was advocacy. The authors commended Amazon’s recent support of policies in the US that would reduce greenhouse emissions and support the rollout of renewable energy.

Of the remaining tech giants, Apple enjoyed the second-highest score in the report with the authors praising Apple’s commitment to renewable energy and to meaningful changes to its supply chain.

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While its flagship example will be its brand-new space-age headquarters Apple Park that’s 100% powered by renewable energy, the report also praises Apple for its commitment to using renewable energy overseas.

“Apple has thus far been fairly aggressive in pursuing its 2020 goal to deploy 4GW of renewable energy in its supply chain,” states the report. “With Apple itself having deployed nearly 500MW of solar and wind in China, and has made significant progress with its suppliers as well.”

In April Apple also made a major commitment to closed-loop manufacturing which essentially means it will stop mining for new precious metals or toxic materials and instead only use recycled materials from its older handsets.

While the report praises this, it does also point out the limitations that Apple has placed on itself including the fact that newer products like the new MacBook are actually making it harder for Apple to repair them thus increasing wastage.

Other poor performers included Samsung who was singled out in particular because of the sheer size of its influence over the technology industry.

Jean Chung via Getty Images

“In neither Samsung’s product lines nor the operation of its factories did we find much evidence that reducing Samsung’s environmental impact has been been made a priority by the company’s leadership.”

“Samsung has not kept pace with the efforts of Apple to reduce its greenhouse gas footprint and transition its factories to renewable sources of energy, and has seen its emissions rapidly climb as a result.”

You can read the full report here, which includes both an overview of the general performance of each company and then includes a much more in-depth analysis of how each one performs.