How Green is Your C.E.?

New school of thought: You're only as "green" as your plasma. And by "green," we're not talking about how accurately your flat-panel generates that primary color. We're saying maybe you should look into just how eco-responsible your consumer-electronics-makers are.

Lucky for you, the environmental activist group Greenpeace did just that. For the first time, its quarterly report on the eco-records of electronics companies, "Guide to Greener Electronics," includes TV and game console manufacturers. All were ranked (see below) based on their efforts in eliminating hazardous substances from their products and for policies regarding the responsible taking back and recycling of obsolete products.

The list's bottom feeders are Philips and Microsoft, which scored poorly among the 18 rated companies that produce wireless handsets, PCs, TVs and game consoles. The worst of all (as in, they leave carbon footprints the size of Jolly Green Giant footprints) is Nintendo, which scored a big, whopping '0' (the lowest on the '0' to '10' scale) -- a study first!

For top points in the Greenpeace survey, a company's entire product portfolio needs to be both PVC- (polyvinyl chloride) and BFR- (brominated flame retardant) free. Scores for the Greenpeace report were based on public information on the companies' website. The organization updates the guide every 3 months. The scorecard reads like this: Sony Ericsson - 7.7: This quarter's top scorer improved its take-back reporting and released new phone models that are PVC-free. Still, it falls down on its actual take-back practice. Samsung - 7.3: Scored big improvements for eliminating the worst toxic chemicals from more products. Loses points for incomplete take-back practice. Sony - 7.3: Score reflects that more of Sony's products are free of toxic PVCs and that the company's improved its reporting on recycling and take-back--especially in the U.S. Dell - 7.3: While its score is decent, all the computer-maker's products still have the worst offending chemicals. Lenovo - 7.3: Just like Dell--needs to clean up the chemicals. Toshiba - 7: Tosh is much improved on toxic chemicals but takes a hit for lobbying for regressive take-back policies in the U.S. LG - 7: Unchanged since last quarter. Take-back policy on phones gets a thumbs-up. Now other product categories need to follow suit. Fujitsu-Siemens - 7: Unchanged since last report. Still needs toxic elimination timelines, better take-back coverage, and reporting of amounts recycled. Nokia - 6.7: Nokia stumbles due to deficiencies in take-back practice in Thailand, Russia, and Argentina. On the flip, it scores high on toxic chemical elimination. HP - 6.7: Delivered long-awaited timelines for eliminating worst toxic chemicals on some products but not all. Needs to boost take-back coverage. Apple - 6: Gets kudos for improvement on toxic chemicals used in iMacs and iPods, but needs to get going on its take-back program. Acer - 5.7: Stuck at 5.7. Needs better take-back coverage and reporting of amounts recycled. Panasonic - 5: Unchanged. Needs better take-back coverage and reporting of amounts recycled. Motorola - 5: Took a point hit for poor take-back practices in the Philippines, Thailand and India. And where's the timeline for eliminating the most harmful chemicals? Sharp - 4.7: First time on the guide, Sharp wins points for eliminating toxic chemicals but needs work on take-back policy. Microsoft - 2.7: First-timer is punished for its long timeline for implementing toxic chemical elimination (2011) and poor take-back policy and practice. Philips - 2: New to the guide, Philips has lots of work to do on its timeline for toxic chemical elimination and e-waste policy and practice. Nintendo - 0: Wii are very disappointed.