Greenpeace slams Nintendo and Microsoft

Environmental campaigning charity Greenpeace has taken a swipe at Nintendo, Microsoft and Toshiba, as it named the best - and worst - in green IT.

Nokia and Sony Ericsson received the highest praise in the Guide to Greener Electronics, published today.

The quarterly survey rates 18 major tech companies for their progress on ditching hazardous substances from their products, recycling electronic waste and improving energy efficiency.

The report highlights companies' progress in phasing out two chemicals in particular: polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BRFs). Both substances accumulate in the human body, and become a particular hazard at end-of-life, when they are often recycled in substandard conditions in China or India, sometimes by children as young as 11. Harmful dioxins are released when PVC cables are burnt to recover the copper inside.

Nintendo trailed in last with a score of 1.8 out of 10. The gaming giant was panned by researcher Iza Kruszewska as "the only company that has never engaged in dialogue with Greenpeace" among those on the list.

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.

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.

Praised by the report for its efforts to eliminate PVC and BRFs, the company loses points for providing scant information to customers on product take-back.

The biggest loser since Greenpeace's last report in December is Toshiba, sliding from third place to its current standing of 14th. The Japanese IT giant was penalised for "breaking its promises that all its consumer electronics products should have been free of PVC and BFRs by April 1 this year".