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  1. Piret Stern Dahl
  2. E-waste Challenge
  3. Saturday, 23 January 2016
How green are the companies we buy from?

This discussion is part of the learning nugget Preventing hazardous e-waste by design in the third module of The E-waste Challenge.
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The companies I use their products are doing well, but that wasn't a conscious effort but rather a coincidence. From now I will make sure that I look into EPR activities of companies I use their product. But what we will understand is that these things are linked to purchasing power, most people look at affordability and not green product.
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The world is moving towards mainstreaming green strategies in business operations .Now than ever Smart cities and Internet of Things (IoT) has been mapped as the new opportunity in business economic content. In developed economies, companies are spending millions of dollars in their R&D to develop such devices which will include Smart Waste Bins.

Financial instruments such as the Green Bond were unheard of a couple of years back. Though its focus is in renewable energy, more need to be done so that those who are into recycling industries/Circular economy will benefit from it.

However many business are sceptical to embrace green strategies or adapt to green economy. Most of these businesses are major polluters of the same environment in which they derive their raw material from. Less is mentioned on how they are mitigating environmental strategies while they are reporting on their financial returns or focus.

The evidence of this can be seen through products developed. Eco-designed in the product life cycle is absent while plan obsolesce is common.

I belief the Paris Climate Change declarations will not only force companies to have a new paradigm shift into their product development strategies but help Government not to be lenient on those Companies polluting the environment.

Therefore most of the products sold in emerging economies such as East Africa and Africa as a whole originate from developed economies hence they miss the Green strategies ingredients in their business operations strategies. The same applies to even those which are manufactured locally.

Guantai
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With the very useful Guide to Greener Electronics, it was interesting to know that the companies I buy my products ranked medium but with promising improvements. It was also interesting to know that an Indian company has ranked very high, which is an unknown brand to me and I think to all my fellow country men. In my country, people tend to underestimate the technological advances India has made and with this Guide it proves that they are also leaders in greening products.
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Todays gadgets and consoles are almost designed to a programmed end of life term. And this is a design for the dump.
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Hello Gerardo,

Good point! I wonder how many of these gadgets and console can be updated with new software and whether the users know about their options for re-use?

Amanda
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Companies whose products I use didn't do badly on the scale. Good to know that they have put up initiatives towards making their products greener (at least the life cycle of their products has seen some improvements). Very enlightening exercise I must say. Helpful for decision making options.
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All the companies that I do patronized are doing well like Sony, Lenovo, and Microsoft.
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In our country, there is a great non mark PC and laptop assembly industry, also named "clon" ones.

Do to this point, is very difficult to know where those devices have been designed and manufactured. Local marks turns invisible original company, also each device can have differents sources.

This situation makes very difficult to stablish EPR system
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There are multiple definitions of “100 percent renewables,” however, and so far none of them involve a company actually getting all of its power from wind, solar, geothermal, or biofuels plants. And in many cases the companies that have publicly pledged to go fully renewable have not assigned a specific deadline. Falling prices for renewable energy, along with tightening government policies, public and shareholder pressure, and a growing body of evidence that opting for renewables over fossil fuels provides bottom-line benefits are driving this trend. But getting there still involves a complicated set of decisions, compromises, tough conversations with utilities, and financial maneuvering.
Last year the World Resources Institute and the World Wildlife Fund published the Renewable Energy Buyers’ Principles, a sort of shoppers’ guide that helps companies devise strategies to go 100 percent clean. One avenue is to purchase renewable-energy certificates (RECs), or credits, that enable companies to claim 100 percent renewable sources without getting their power directly from solar panels or wind turbines. Such certificates are provided by a number of different companies; the Department of Energy online guide to the certificate systems lists 17 providers in the U.S. Each credit represents one megawatt-hour of renewable energy produced by a plant operator who offers the certificate on the open market via one of the brokers mentioned above.
A company might, for instance, partially power one of its factories with electricity from a nearby solar park, while purchasing green credits to offset the balance of power consumed at the site. Once the certificate is sold and claimed by the purchaser, it is nominally “retired,” although instances of double-booking are not uncommon. In theory, the system should provide additional demand for renewable energy, as opposed to power from fossil-fuel plants; in practice it’s nearly impossible to confirm that a renewable credit actually displaces a megawatt-hour from, say, a coal plant. The sale of these credits benefits producers of renewable energy, essentially adding to their profit from a given unit of energy sold. But the claim that they result in expansions to renewable energy capacity is hard to prove. (Daniel Press, chairman of the environmental studies department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, provides a rundown of the problems with RECs here.)
The system for providing, purchasing, and verifying these certificates remains a hodgepodge of multiple providers and verification systems that vary from state to state and country to country. While some countries have laws that mandate third-party audits of all corporate clean-energy claims, many do not. In the U.S. it’s often grid overseers like regional transmission organizations that track and authenticate the certificates, but the system is hardly foolproof.
“Nobody is going stop you from putting ‘100 percent renewable’ on your project if you’re buying offsets or credits from some faraway place,” says Matt Baker, a program officer in the environment program of the Hewlett Foundation and a former commissioner with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission. “You can buy RECs in the Amazon for hydro projects that may not exist.”
There’s a sharp distinction between markets where utilities and energy users purchase credits in order to meet renewable portfolio standards or other government-mandated rules, and markets where companies purchase them voluntarily. In the latter, prices for green credits have fallen so low that the certificate system is unable to fulfill its real mission, which is to drive the addition of new clean-energy generation capacity to the grid. Health care giant Johnson & Johnson, which is part of the RE100, joined with the World Resources Institute in the early 2000s to help facilitate renewable energy certificate markets, but later decided to limit its use of credits. “In some markets it worked and in some it didn’t,” says Jed Richardson, J&J’s global energy director. “The price of RECs became so low that it wasn’t driving the change that we hoped it would. We moved away from purchasing voluntary, unbundled clean energy credits because we decided we were better off investing in renewable generation on our own properties.”
Companies can also help fund the development of renewable assets that feed into the grids in the regions in which they operate. Facebook, for example, helped develop a wind farm in Iowa to provide wind power to the regional grid. Facebook will claim 138 megawatts worth of renewable-energy certificates to cover the 138 megawatts used at its Altoona, Iowa, data center. Data center operator Equinix is partnering with SunEdison on the construction of the 150-megawatt Mount Signal solar farm in Calexico, California, that will connect into San Diego Gas & Electric’s system. Under a power purchase agreement, Equinix will claim 105 of those megawatts—enough to run the company’s California operations, including its Redwood City headquarters and 11 data centers in the state.
Unfortunately, renewable power will not supply all of the energy demand for factories and large industrial plants anytime soon. Most companies will opt for a mix of green credits and direct purchases of renewable power to get to 100 percent renewables.
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In my opinion, the list of greener electronics include companies with international recognition for its high sales.
What happen national companies of electronics? In my country, Mexico, for example there is a company, Zonda, who are selling cheaper mobile phones.
I wonder if inside other countries have national companies of manufacture mobile phones, laptops, screens, etc.
Like consumers we have right to know What kind of product (sustainable or not) are we buying?
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The companies I use seem to be doing well, although they often provide little evidence for many of their claims making it difficult to assess their effectiveness.
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On the website of the company that I usually buy electronic products, in 2004 developed and set up the Eco-Design Assessment system. This system manages product’s compliance with environmental criteria developed based on resource efficiency, energy efficiency and eco-friendly materials.

This system ensures that our products and devices such as LCD and semiconductor to comply with the global environmental regulations as well as satisfies consumer demands for eco-friendly products. It is also launching various innovative eco-products in the market and increasing the acquisition of global eco-labels and energy labels through the eco-design management system.

In 2009, we further upgraded our Eco-Design management system, introducing the eco-rating system for all developed products. This assigns each newly developed product an eco-rating (Eco-Product, Good Eco-Product, or Premium Eco-Product) based on strict evaluation criteria.

According to the website this company has set a goal to ensure 100% of products exceed Good Eco-Product criteria by 2013. This will include introducing eco-friendly evaluation for products in the R&D stage, enhancing energy efficiency, and increasing the use of recyclable and eco-friendly materials.
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Companies who I buy them electronic products are Sony and Apple, which according to the Full Scorecard, they are not wrong in their methodologies., Although it would be good that they are much better, according to their status as leading companies in the market, which should guide to others.
However, I have sent emails to both companies, showing them that as a consumer, we are following his progress, and that my future purchases would depend to observe progress in their environmental commitments.
Both companies answered me very kindly, and told me to send me soon improvement plan for the development of their equipment, improving the condition of your ecodesign.
They also welcomed the commitment to eco-design improvements.
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The main company I tend towards, ranked in the middle of the scale according to the 2012 data. I did some research and found that they have since made more positive changes and had their environmental sustainability report for 2015 ready available which showed some eco-friendly product models that were tested on the market and their plans to adapt to meet the changing regulations that are more environmentally conscious. Certain parts of their products are now being made with more sustainable raw materials. They have also started take-back and recycling facilities in some countries around the world. In my future purchases I will follow up more on their eco-products.
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Sure it is good to know how the brands I buy compare on the green scale, however, when you do not have a big choice in your country, you buy what's available. Another issue is the price tag of green tech. People in poorer nations like mine (Bulgaria) will keep purchasing what they can afford, even though knowing it's not that eco-friendly.

Myself I got a Chinese smart phone, not on the green list, but its functions are three times better than the green options out there. We come back to that wonderful Layla TED talk that emphasized a product's functionality and not its constituent materials. Designers of greener products have a long way to go...
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I also got a chinese phone, and this brand is not even in the green list, I searched for information in the company website and they are prommoting a strategy called Eco-communications, Eco-Huawei and Eco-world that is focused mainly on energy efficiency developed in their production processes. It means this company it's already going forward for a better production but has to get better and offer greener products to consumers.

Now I'm considering those references to get new products and would be better if this companies sell their products emphasizing the importance of greener production and responsible consumption.
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my company is one of green companies and we face a big problems with customer in y country because they haven't recycling culrure so we as agreen companies need media support to increase recycling and green products culture
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The word "green" become a brand in the market, to promote the products in terms of save environment and some companies they utilize ISO 14001 label to show their compliance with environment.

I think we need actual and tangible efforts from companies to show their environmental responsibility.
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Getting a clear idea is always difficult. All companies like to emphasis their good points while trying to hide their bad points. For example, in its promotion Apple likes to promotes its green credentials, but has recently been criticized in the media on the source of the raw materials and the conditions of the workers in China who make its products. In both instances Apple stated that while it tries to ensure good practices in both instances it is not directly responsible for the aquisition of raw materials nor for the employment of the workers.
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Toshiba is the first option what i had because i work for them, and saw the greener companies and i disappointment their products are good but not designed to last or eco
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» Have the ideas and examples in module 3 helped you to shape or modify your early ideas? In what ways?

Sustainability is being prioritized for all development activities by integrating societal, economic, environmental, technological, cultural, and gender perspectives. Considering the adverse potential eco-toxicological impacts and diverse health effects of e-waste, an urgent global multilateral agreement is needed addressing its management (i.e., handling, storage, transportation, recycling, and final disposal), whether by land filling or incineration. Due to the global nature of the issue and the difficulty of establishing sustainable and environmentally sound processing of e-waste in low-income countries, multinational negotiation and collaboration is the only realistic solution. Furthermore, comprehensive global e-waste management and policies could help to off-set the hazards of e-waste and are the best approach for achieving sustainable development.



» Have the new technologies and processes introduced in this module helped you see how you could turn some of your current ideas into a reality?

Steady technological advancement in the modern world has been making our lives easier, simpler and faster in so many ways with the progressive invention of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) such as personal computers (PCs), scanners and televisions.

1 The obsolescence of these forms of EEE is termed as ‘technological waste’ or ‘e-waste’ or ‘waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)’.

2 The volume of generated e-waste has been increasing in line with economic development all over the world. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), e-waste growth has significantly increased as a proportion of global solid waste generation and now comprises 8% of the total volume of current municipal


» How will you find out more about the new technologies and processes in this module?

Mechanical e-waste recycling sustainable technology for printed circuit board: Kubota Vertical Shredder

The advent of sophisticated recycling technology has played a major role in the success of Japan’s electronic-waste recycling program. Japan has approximately 100 major electronic waste facilities, as well as numerous smaller, local collection and operating facilities. Out of the 100 major plants, more than 30 utilize the Kubota Vertical Shredder to reduce the size of the electronic waste. With the Vertical Shredder holding roughly 30% of the market share, it’s clearly the preferred choice of electronic-waste operators. In fact, Kubota has long dominated the Japanese market, and has been selling this shredding technology to the recycling industry for more than 40 years.

The mighty Kubota Vertical Shredder can process large and small domestic appliances, metal scrap, and other bulky items, thanks to some unique features that make it indispensable to the recycling industry. It breaks down and grinds up materials down to one inch or less in size in a single pass, and the particle size can easily be adjusted.

The Vertical Shredder can be used as a standalone unit or in combination with other processing technology, which tends to be the most popular option. Close to 400 users have already taken advantage of its powerful breakers and multiple layers of grinders to process a broad variety of waste materials.

swissRTec of Switzerland is a leader in designing, building and commissioning turnkey e-waste, scrap-metal, and ASR (automotive shredder residue) recycling facilities. The company’s core focus is the shredding, delamination, and separation of valuable raw waste materials from waste compound materials.
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