Lenovo: Almost Green

Guangdong China-06 January 2007I was happy to learn this morning that, according to Greenpeace, in buying a machine from Lenovo I’ve moved from the bottom of the top of their “greener electronics” scale.

Lenovo ranks at the top, with a score of 8, while Apple wallows at the bottom with a pitiful 2.7. Apple’s spin doctors responded with a generally meaningless, “We disagree with Greenpeace’s rating and the criteria.” But, y’know, I have to say I trust Greenpeace more than Apple on this one.

One has to wonder, though: is Lenovo more responsive because of their corporate geography?

Being a Chinese-based country, they’re more exposed to the cruel underside of e-waste on a corporate level. Every hour 4,000 tonnes of toxic electronics garbage are produced, primarily by North Americans, and shipped to places like Guangdong, China, where unprotected, underpaid workers are exposed to it. Lenovo maintains a private manufacturing plant in Guangdong.

On the other hand, Apple is a very first-world company, corporately nestled in a lovely Cupertino campus. They contract out their manufacturing to the third world’s nether regions. I would have to say that Apple’s attitude towards the e-waste crisis, like its products, is definitely, “Designed in California.”

C’mon, Apple, it’s time to quit paying lip service to the e-waste crisis and actually start adapting your manufacturing and recycling processes to the global reality.

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