November 27, 2007 9:30 AM PST

Greenpeace hands game industry low score

Game console makers may be making millions of gamers happy, but environmental watchdog Greenpeace is giving the industry dismal scores.

Greenpeace on Monday issued its quarterly "Guide to Greener Electronics," which ranks consumer electronics manufacturers and their policies regarding toxic chemicals and recycling.

At the bottom of the heap are Nintendo, Philips, and Microsoft.

Nintendo has the distinction of being the first global brand to score zero on Greenpeace's criteria in the quarterly report, which for the first time includes televisions and game consoles.

Nintendo managed that by scoring zero in the five categories related to the use of harmful chemicals, including offering no list of banned or restricted substances and no policy regarding the use of vinyl plastic or brominated flame retardants. It also scored zero in the four categories related to recycling.

Part of Nintendo's poor score stems from lack of available information. Nintendo supplied insufficient information or no information on a number of Greenpeace's individual benchmarks, according to Nintendo's individual evaluation (PDF).

Apple, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, and Toshiba have all said that they will produce consumer electronics without vinyl plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). But the pace of some of those changes is not fast enough for Greenpeace.

Photos: E-waste in China

"While it's encouraging to see Sharp and Microsoft providing timelines for the complete elimination of vinyl plastic and all BFRs across their entire product range, makers of TVs and computer games have a long way to go," Iza Kruszewska, toxics campaigner at Greenpeace International, said in a statement.

At the top of the list are Sony Ericsson and Samsung for eliminating or reducing the use of the worst toxic chemicals. However, no company received a perfect score.

Nokia and Motorola got dinged in the rankings for not fully honoring the recycling takeback policies.

Regulations to reduce electronic waste are taking hold, including the European Union's Restriction on Hazardous Substances Directive and the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive. But the electronics and computer industries remain one of the biggest generators of toxic waste and consumers of energy. (Greenpeace did not evaluate energy consumption or labor standards.)

Game consoles are one of the fastest-growing fields in electronics, with 62.7 million units shipped in 2006.

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