Dell faces Greenpeace wrath

Dell has come under attack from Greenpeace, which has launched a full blown protest against the company in the US.

The attack, which saw Greenpeace protesters scaling Dell’s global headquarters and hanging a banner off the building with a message directed at Mr Dell himself with the words: “Michael, What the Dell? Design Out Toxics,” comes as a result of the company backtracking on its public commitment to eliminate key toxic chemicals in its products by 2009.

And Greenpeace has also gone one step further running TV spots in Austin on several channels, including MTV and ESPN, that explain Dell’s backtracking. The spot asks Austin residents to call CEO Michael Dell and tell him to honour his company’s word to phase out toxic chemicals.

The backlash comes a day after Greenpeace launched its latest consumer electronics rankings, where it cited Dell as one of the poorest performing companies. It is demanding that Dell joins the likes of HP and detail a phase out plan for the end of its use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) by the company’s new 2011 deadline.

Tom Dowdall, Greener Electronics campaign coordinator told TechEye: “Dell has backtracked on its commitment to get rid of these materials by 2009. Dell is a large player in the market so that’s why we’re campaigning. We really want Dell to do this.”

However, the organisation has not stopped at Dell. It’s also got the daggers out for Nintendo, which fell into the bottom of the organisation’s quarterly electronic green report for failing to communicate.

According to the report, Nintendo claims a near-100 per cent recycling rate for product returns and repairs in the US, but provides no figures for the rest of the world. Despite company claims that it has targeted the elimination of PVC, no timeline for its phasing out has yet emerged.

Tom Dowdall told us: “Nintendo has been at the bottom of the ranking since 2007 because it has consistently failed to provide its customers or us with any environmental information.

“It’s the only electronics company that won’t talk to us and that’s not through lack of trying. We have good relationships with every other company.

“Nintendo is well known for ignoring and avoiding matters and questions as well as providing information that doesn’t put it in a good light.”

Microsoft improved its rating since the last report – but only slightly. The company now ranks 16th in the list of 18, with a score of just 3.3.

However, Apple and HP came up trumps with most of their new computer lines  free of PVC and BFRs. GreenPeace said this demonstrated the technical feasibility and supply chain readiness of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances.

The biggest climbers in this edition of the guide are Panasonic in sixth up from 10th, HP up from 11th to eighth, and Sharp from 13th to ninth. LGE falls from sixth to 12th position, losing points on its reporting on the energy efficiency of its products. Greenpeace has disregarded the company’s reporting of its latest Energy Star standards, as LGE was caught twice manipulating these efficiency standards.

The Guide’s top five ranked companies are Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Philips, Motorola and Apple, while the bottom five ranked companies are, in descending order: Toshiba, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Lenovo, and Nintendo.