~e; War on High-Tech Waste

From brian carroll <human@electronetwork.org>
Date Wed, 24 Oct 2001 07:26:34 -0600




[intriguing article forwarded to nettime-l by SZ]

War on High-Tech Waste (Interview with Ted Smith/SVTC)
by William Van Winkle

Read this article on the Web at:
http://www.smartcomputing.com/email.asp?emid=45937

...

[on the e-mail there is a link to the report cards, of
  which there is an excerpt below.... a wake-up call...]


the 2000 report card from the Silicon Valley Toxic Coalition,
rating different technology companies for their stewardship
or lackthereof.... (see URL for full report information...)

  http://www.svtc.org/cleancc/pubs/2000report.htm

"HOME > Clean Computer Campaign > 2000 CLEAN COMPUTER REPORT CARD

Right-to-know a little
..Exposing double standards in global high-tech production

The different sections of the report are available in pdf as well.
Annual Report Card's Executive Summary , Full report,
Recommendations, Address of companies used for report., The scores in
a spreadsheet To view and/or print you must have the Adobe Acrobat
viewer, available at no charge.
Read the Barcharts to see the overall results by country
Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
Clean Computer Campaign
December 19, 2000
Executive Summary
Contact us at 408-287-6707 to receive a copy of the full report.

The Clean Computer Campaign, a project of the Silicon Valley Toxics
Coalition, has completed the most comprehensive analysis ever
published which evaluates the environmental information contained on
the web sites of 44 of the largest high-tech companies in the world.
The report evaluates 8 key indicators in an effort to answer the
following question:

Are high-tech companies providing consumers with enough information
to make informed decisions about buying "green" electronic products?
(For a summary of the many environmental and health impacts of
high-tech production - see http://www.svtc.org)

Many of the findings of the analysis are significant and some are
surprising: The Findings:
*	Japanese companies received the top scores in 7 out of the 8
categories evaluated.
*	Only 5 companies -- 4 Japanese companies (Canon, NEC,
Mitsubishi and Sony) and 1 US company (IBM) scored above 50%, but
even the top companies scored below 65% overall.
*	U.S. companies (as well as other transnational high-tech
companies) practice "double standards" in their global environmental
behavior, meeting higher standards in Europe and Japan than in the
U.S. due to weaker U.S. regulations. No company provided enough
reliable information to evaluate their performance in the third world.
*	Several companies exhibit environmental leadership in a few
key areas by phasing out some of the most toxic materials in their
products, by designing some "green" products, as well as by taking
back and recycling older products.
*	Some companies have made significant improvements in their
environmental disclosures since the publication of the first Report
Card last year.
*	Brand name consumer products companies tended to score higher
than components manufacturers.
*	U.S. and Korean companies were the "cellar dwellers" in most
of the key categories.

The report makes the following recommendations to consumers:
*	Consumers need and deserve much better information on the
environmental and health impacts of consumer electronic products.
*	Consumers should buy only "necessary" consumer electronics
products and reward "greener" companies with their consumer dollars
and punish the "cellar dwellers" by not buying their products.
*	Consumers are a powerful force in changing the environmental
priorities of consumer electronics companies when exerting informed
buying habits and communicating their environmental concerns directly
to the companies. See http://www.svtc.org/cleancc/4ht_letters.htm for
examples of letters to computer companies (including their email
addresses).

Discussion

The right-to-know is a sacred public trust. Consumers both need and
want to know pertinent information in order to make informed
decisions when spending hard-earned dollars. Historically, retailers
and producers have used the buzz words "smaller", "faster" and
"cheaper" as the mantra for holiday buying. Now it is time, given the
huge environmental impact of high-tech production, for consumers to
insist on a new mantra: "greener", "cleaner" and "more recycle-able".
This is particularly important since most consumers are unaware of
the toxic footprint and legacy of consumer electronics production,
ranging from extensive groundwater pollution to serious occupational
illness and air pollution. See www.svtc.org for further extensive
information.

The broad range of overall scores by company (from 0 - 55 out of a
possible score of 87 points) illustrates the disparity among these
high-tech companies in the disclosure on their websites of their
environmental information, based on the 8 key indicators identified.

See page Appendix C on page 25 for a description of the methodology
used in this report.

The U.S. high-tech industry has often been lauded as the global
leader in technology developments as well as a leader in disclosing
environmental information. This survey uncovers significant double
standards in global environmental reporting, as U.S. high-tech
companies rank a poor second or third -- and in some cases live in
the cellar -- when compared to other global consumer electronics
companies. "


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