Greenpeace has published its latest "green ranking" of the world's biggest electronics companies with China's Lenovo Group topping the list.
Rankings are based on the recycling and toxic content policies of the companies and the list is intended to pressure them to reduce electronic waste. Lenovo was ranked bottom of 14 companies surveyed when Greenpeace first published the report in August last year.
"It's a surprise that a Chinese firm, which was bottom place in the first edition has climbed slowly to the top," said Zeina Alhajj, a toxics campaigner at Greenpeace.
Lenovo's top spot was helped by big improvements on two issues, she said. First, the company has committed to halting or mitigating the use of chemicals that could potentially be harmful even before scientific studies on the chemical's effects are finished. It's also offering to take back end-of-life products in all countries where it operates.
"Our big disappointment is Apple," said Alhajj. Apple was ranked bottom.
"Since the first version of the report the only company that hasn't moved one point is Apple. They haven't improved one bit, which is really shocking and a huge disappointment knowing they are a leader in terms of design and have this cool image that everyone talks about. But when it comes to putting [in place] a real policy that is proactive they are lagging," she said.
Apple said it disagreed with the rating and the criteria Greenpeace chose.
"Apple has a strong environmental track record and has led the industry in restricting and banning toxic substances such as mercury, cadmium and hexavalent chromium, as well as many BFRs (brominated flame retardants)," the company said in an e-mailed statement. "We have also completely eliminated CRT monitors, which contain lead, from our product line. Apple desktops, notebooks and displays each score best-in-class in the new EPA ranking system EPEAT, which uses international standards set by IEEE."
Greenpeace isn't impressed that Apple has eliminated CRTs, pointing out that the industry has moved to flat-panel displays.