Greenpeace recently released their latest Guide to Greener Electronics. The guide takes 15 electronics companies and ranks them on their energy, greener products and sustainable operations. Unfortunately, out of the 15 companies surveyed, RIM’s BlackBerry came in last. Although, RIM did score well on the important conflict minerals issue and sustainable paper policy. Here’s an excerpt from RIM’s ‘report card’:

RIM makes its first appearance in the Guide in last place, with 1.6 points. On Energy it discloses its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions for its operations and business travel to the Carbon Disclosure Project; however, it does not have external verification for its data. It also scores for its examples of energy efficiency and renewable energy use, but it does not yet have a clean electricity plan or a target to increase use of renewable energy. RIM does not yet have a target for reducing its GHG emissions; it should set ambitious targets to reduce its own GHG emissions by at least 30 percent by 2015 for its operations and use 100 percent renewable electricity by 2020.

For Products it only scores points for the energy efficiency of its products, for reporting that its Blackberry charger gets the European Commission IPP 4-star rating, although it does not report on the energy efficiency of its chargers as a percentage of all its external power devices. It also risks a penalty point in future Guide editions as it is a member of a trade association that has commented against stringent energy efficiency standards; it needs to distance itself from such regressive positions with a strong statement. For hazardous substances, RIM should set timelines to phase out their use in all of its products. It needs to publicly disclose the length of warranty and spare parts availability for its main product lines to score points on the product life cycle criteria.

It scores most points on Sustainable Operations and is one of the better scorers on conflict minerals, as it does not directly purchase these materials from any source and
has sought written assurances from its tantalum capacitor suppliers that they are not using tantalum made from conflict minerals, although it has not yet mapped its smelters
and suppliers publicly. It also scores a point for its Paper Procurement Policy; it aims to source its fibre from sustainably managed forests and specifically excludes suppliers
that engage in illegal logging or source from countries that have been engaged in systemic illegal logging. It needs to also exclude suppliers that are involved in deforestation.
RIM also earns a point for its mail-back programme for e-waste in the US, and for adopting a Restricted Substances List under chemicals management. It fails to score on
management of GHG emissions from its supply chain.”

The Greenpeace Guide to Greener Electronics seeks to push electronics companies to improve their products environmentally by phasing out hazardous substances like PVC and Brominated flame retardants from their products. You can view RIM’s full ‘report card’ here.