sustainability
4:08 pm
Mon October 18, 2010

Dell Is Greenest Large Company in America Says Newsweek

Newsweek just released its second annual green ranking of America's 500 largest companies. Topping the list is Round Rock-based Dell, which employs about 16,000 people in Central Texas.

Newsweek says it awarded Dell the top spot because of the PC maker's commitment to environmental stewardship.

Dell got high marks for its strong environmental policies, including free recycling of products worldwide and a ban on the export of e-waste to developing countries. But while feel-good policies may win the trust of potential customers, offering more efficient products closes the sale. And Dell has figured out how to do both, designing desktops and laptops that consume 25 percent less energy than systems produced in 2008.

The news will likely come as some surprise to Greenpeace. The environmental organization staged a protest outside Dell's Round Rock headquarters in May, unfurling a giant banner that accused Dell of backtracking on promises to eliminate toxic substances from its products. 

Dell can't fulfill its aim to be the greenest technology company on the planet until it follows through on its commitments to phase out substances that are hazardous to the environment and public health. All electronics companies need to follow the lead of Apple, HP and Indian brands HCL and Wipro who are phasing out the worst toxics chemicals.

Electronista notes how Apple was conspicuously low on the Newsweek list, ranking just 65th. That was in spite of a recent report praising Apple's sustainable activities. 

Most Macs are dominated by aluminum and glass, and all have been free of bromide flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride since 2009.  The Mac maker has also previously claimed that its approach looks at the whole ecosystem, including the end-of-life cycle and the efficiency of freight, where companies like Dell and HP have usually centered on office space, packaging and most other features that don't relate to the actual products.