Greenpeace has concluded in its own report that Amazon and Samsung, among others, score poorly on sustainability. According to Greenpeace, Samsung is failing, for example, with regard to the sustainability of the energy used for the production chain.
Samsung scores particularly poorly on the energy used in the production process: according to Greenpeace, the company relies heavily on fossil fuels. Only one percent is clean energy. In addition, the extent to which Samsung devices can be repaired is disappointing. Due to the use of quite a lot of glue, it is difficult to repair, for example, the Galaxy S7, S8 and the Tab3; that means a somewhat more limited lifespan, so that customers are more inclined to purchase a new device. Samsung has said it will invest heavily in the reuse of metals, such as those from the Galaxy Note 7, but Greenpeace finds this insufficient to speak of a substantial limitation of raw material consumption.
Amazon is particularly criticized by Greenpeace for the very limited transparency the company provides about its environmental performance. For example, according to Greenpeace, Amazon refuses to provide transparency with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. The company also does not publish anything about the restrictions that would be imposed on the use of hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, in the eyes of the environmental organization, Amazon has not expressed any commitment to use recycled materials in the production process. This concerns the production of, among other things, the Kindle e-reader, Fire tablets and the Echo speaker. Greenpeace is pleased with the fact that Amazon uses renewable energy on a fairly large scale in the US, including solar energy in distribution centers. In addition, Greenpeace judges that Amazon is now one of the leaders in the tech sector in promoting better climate policy.
In the Greenpeace list, FairPhone is the most sustainable company. Fairphone scores best, partly because the phones from this manufacturer are relatively easy to repair or upgrade. The company also scores very well on transparency over the production chain, with many of the components used and the emission values mapped in detail. Greenpeace notes that the scale of Fairphone’s production cannot be compared with that of other manufacturers such as Samsung.
Apple has made a strong commitment to protecting the environment since Tim Cook took office as CEO, according to Greenpeace. The company acknowledges that climate change is a major problem, but has also expressed its intention to power its data centers and other operations using 100 percent renewable energy. Apple has also indicated that it will no longer use new minerals from mining for the production of its devices in the longer term. However, Apple has been criticized for the lack of simplicity in repairing or upgrading the latest iPhones and iPads.
Incidentally, some Chinese manufacturers such as Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi, together with Amazon, score the worst. The Chinese companies show no ambition when it comes to sustainability, and are hardly transparent about their performance in terms of material use, for example. Companies such as Sony, Acer, Google, LG, Lenovo and Microsoft have fallen into the middle bracket.
Greenpeace has incorporated the above into its own report, in which about fifteen of the largest international electronics manufacturers have been measured against the yardstick of sustainability. The environmental organization has taken into account three overarching criteria: the extent of the use of clean energy, the use of raw materials and whether recycled materials are used, and whether harmful chemicals are used in the production process.