Apple Computer fared pretty well in the 3rd Annual Computer Report Card from the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, a grassroots coalition whose goal is "to advance environmental sustainability and clean production in the industry and to improve health, promote justice and ensure democratic decision-making for communities and workers affected by the high-tech revolution in Silicon Valley and other high-tech areas of the US and the world".
The Computer Report Card provides consumers, local governments and advocates with a tool to measure electronics equipment and the performance of companies that produce computers, according to the SVTC. The report card reveals that companies in the US are continuing to lag behind their overseas counterparts in clean production, protecting workers' health and producing environmentally superior products, the group says.
"E-waste (electronic waste) is one of the fastest growing and most toxic waste streams -- threatening human health and the environment," said Ted Smith, executive director of the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition (SVTC) and coordinator of the national Computer TakeBack Campaign, in an announcement. This year's evaluation reveals several "troubling" double standards in the global production of computers: between countries, among companies and even within companies doing business in different areas of the world, he added.
Over the past year, several environmental and health initiatives with important impacts on the high-tech sector have been adopted in Europe and Japan. However, there have been no major policy initiatives in the US to reduce environmental health impacts of computer equipment, the SVTC maintains. The Computer Report Card results indicate that companies maintain disparate practices by meeting higher standards outside of the US that are mandated by many governments in Europe and Asia.
So where does Apple fit in? The company's division in Germany provides a take-back program where customers can return electronic appliances at no charge, but offers no such program to US consumers, according to the report card. Despite this, Apple ranked ninth on a list of "Report Card Leaders", preceded by Canon, Toshiba, IBM, Fujitsu, Sony, NEC, Hewlett-Packard and Brother.
Falling in the "Report Card Laggards" category were, in descending order, Hitachi, Oki, Seiko Epson, Compaq, Matsushita/Panasonic, Dell, Samsung, Sharp, Micron, Gateway, Philips, Lexmark, ViewSonic, Acer, Wyse Technologies, e-machines, Daewoo, Lucky Goldstar and AST. The leaders and laggards were evaluated on their work in efforts in clean production, protecting workers' health and producing environmentally superior products.