In October, Greenpeace issued the sixteenth revision to their electronic scorecard, “Guide to Greener Electronics.” The guide rates consumer electronics companies against Greenpeace criteria on hazardous substances, take back and recycling and energy use and climate change.
In their January 2010 scorecard, Greenpeace not only asked companies to change materials used in their product, they also took a bigger step in requiring companies to lobby on behalf of their agenda. In that scorecard, criterion C1 was amended, “requiring companies to also actively lobby for the addition of an end-of-life methodology for further restrictions of hazardous substances and for organochlorines and organobromines to be added to the list of substances already banned by the EU RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances in electronics) Directive, currently being revised (RoHS 2.0).”1
With the issuing of the October 2010 edition of the scorecard, Greenpeace continues to mark down leading consumer electronics manufacturers for failing to lobby for an agenda based on faulty science. Several computer manufacturers received lower scores for failing to “openly support restrictions on at least PVC vinyl plastic, chlorinated flame retardants (CFRs) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) …”
Why is Greenpeace trying to exert control over what companies say? Perhaps it’s because they know that an honest discussion of the facts and evidence regarding specific BFRs, like Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), which provides flame retardancy to more than 80 percent of all printed boards, would fail to support their unscientific position that a green product must not contain TBBPA. The World Health Organization2 and the European Commission’s Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER)3 conducted separate, comprehensive scientific assessments of TBBPA and both found TBBPA to be safe for human health and the environment.
Just in case companies aren’t clear about what Greenpeace wants them to say, the Guide to Greener Electronics, Ranking Criteria Explained 4 provides a copy of the statement it wants posted on electronics companies’ websites which begins, “[Company name] is committed to the elimination of the most toxic chemicals, starting with BFRs and PVC, from our entire product range. In order to ensure this is achieved across our industry as quickly as possible, we ask EU regulators to amend the European Commission proposal of December 2008 for a revised RoHS Directive …”
In support of open discussion we offer the following thoughts on the Greenpeace ranking criteria for toxic chemicals.5