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As noted in this article, buyers should consider energy usage and the production life cycle if they are trying to rate computer sustainability and the green factors of their computers. There are two good ways to find useful computer sustainability information. The best is independent analysis. A company's own information is typically less reliable but perhaps more thorough than most independent reports. Here is a summary of both types of sustainability reporting for HP Computers, including several Greenpeace critiques and HP's own information.
I didn't include the Corporate Social Responsibility Newswire analysis, which is mentioned in the other articles in this series (which review Apple and Dell sustainability policies). The report is pretty thin on information about HP.
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Greenpeace, a leading green activist group, won't be sharing an organic beer with HP executives anytime soon. The company lands at 14th place on the group's ranking of technology companies for sustainability practices.
It seems to have moved up two slots by default, only because Fujistu and Lenovo were even worse.
Greenpeace is most unhappy with HP for delaying a pledge to eliminate some toxic materials from computers and other products. The same decision earned a major protest from Greenpeace. The group painted "hazardous products" on HP's roof with finger paints. "Greenpeace is tired of hearing excuses from HP. They are backtracking on their commitment to eliminate PVC plastic and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from their products by the end of 2009. Instead, they are extending the timeframe two more years until they go green," the group said in a press release.
A couple of problems with this idea: HP can't see words painted on their own roof. In fact, nobody can. It's also hard to take finger painting seriously (and their fingers would get really sore running paint on 11,000 square feet of concrete).
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HP's own reporting
Of course, HP is much more positive about its sustainability than Greenpeace is. The company Web site states HP has been a global industry leader in reducing environmental impacts for 50 years - long before the current "green" movement.
The company's big sustainability PR push is currently the Eco Highlights label. The company Web site notes the labels are used on "select products that meet stringent environmental standards such as energy-savings and innovative material use. You can easily get information on key environmental attributes including energy efficiency, packaging and recycling information, in addition to qualifications such as Energy Star.
The True Sustainability of HP Computers
Here are the items you should consider when looking for a sustainable computer company. Three of the biggest computer companies — Apple, Dell and HP — are reviewed.