Technology titans earn low marks for environmental impact in Greenpeace report

The environmental group Greenpeace issued a report yesterday, which gave low marks to technology titans, including Samsung Electronics, Amazon and Huawei, for their environmental impact.

Some of the biggest technology companies failed to deliver on commitments to cut emissions of greenhouse gases and have not committed fully to renewable energy, according to Greenpeace USA's Guide to Greener Electronics. The report assessed 17 top global tech companies. Many were faulted for failing to use more recycled materials in their products and their tardy progress in phasing out use of toxic materials.

"Tech companies claim to be at the forefront of innovation, but their supply chains are stuck in the Industrial Age," Gary Cook, a campaigner at Greenpeace USA, said in a statement.

The report highlights the hidden cost behind what may be the most sought-after and celebrated consumer products in the 21st century: mobile computing devices like smartphones and tablet computers.

Greenpeace has, since 2011 been urging global tech companies to transition to renewable energy, which led some of them to switch to environmentally friendly power sources for their data centres.

The group has been calling on the industry to tackle energy issues in manufacturing and supply chains, design longer-lasting products to reduce electronics waste and rethink of its "take-make-waste" business model.

Energy, or the reduction of greenhouse gases through renewable energy; resource consumption issues like sustainable design and use of recycled materials; and chemicals, specifically the elimination of hazardous materials in products and the manufacturing process, were mainly considered in the study this year.

Apple scored a passable B- grade, this year for its renewable energy and climate change initiatives.

Apple's B- performance came in only second to Fairphone, which scored a B for its effort to build an environmentally friendly smartphone and supporting supply chain.