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Ranking of the most eco-friendly & sustainable brands of electronics and home appliances

Author: Maciamo Hay. Written in September 2020.

Most eco-friendly brands of electronics and home appliances (image by Businessisbusiness - CC BY-SA 4.0)

There is no such thing as "green" electronics or home appliances. All of eletric appliances and electronic devices have a significant ecological footprint due to the various plastics, metals or rare earths used in their manufacturing. Nevertheless some companies try harder than others to reduce their environmental impact.

Consumers in the EU can see the energy rating for any electric/electronic product they buy. This only indicates the efficiency of the electric consumption. These labels already had a major influence on consumers, which in turn led manufacturers to develop more energy efficient products. Nowadays the biggest part of a device's ecological footprint is going to come from its manufacturing and the way it is disposed of. Proper recycling reduces environmental pollution after a product's life has come to an end, but it does not prevent the resource depletion and carbon emissions linked to the manufacturing of the product in the first place. This analysis attempts to determine how committed manufacturers are to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, to design products in a sustainable manner with sustainable materials, and to remove dangerous chemicals from their products.

The following scoring does not include ethical ratings such as working conditions, worker's rights, wages, tax avoidance and the like as I wanted this ranking to be specifically about the environment.

Methodology

Four indices were used to assess the manufacturers' ecological commitment.

The S&P Global ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) for 2019 is the most comprehensive rating and assesses company's overall sustainability with regard to economic, environmental, and social factors. S&P (Standard & Poor's) is a New York-based company specialised in corporate ratings.

CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) is an organisation based in the UK which supports companies and cities to disclose the environmental impact of major corporations. It provides separate ratings for climate change and water security. Scores are for 2019.

The American magazine Newsweek's Green Rankings 2017 are one of the world's most recognized assessments of corporate environmental performance. It focuses on energy, carbon, water and waste productivity. They did not rate several Japanese (Brother, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh, Seiko Epson) and Taiwanese (Acer, Asus) companies.

Greenpeace published a Guide to Greener Electronics 2017, which measures 3 factors:

  1. Reduction of greenhouse gases through efficiency and renewable energy
  2. Sustainable design and use of recycled materials
  3. Elimination of hazardous chemicals from both the product itself and manufacturing

In order not to give twice more weight to the CDP rating, the Climate and Water scores were averaged before calculating the overall score.

The letter scoring were converted to a percentage this way:

  • A = 100
  • A- = 95
  • B+ = 85
  • B = 80
  • B- = 75
  • C+ = 65
  • C = 60
  • C- = 55
  • D+ = 45
  • D = 40
  • D- = 35
  • E = 20
  • F = 0

Ranking

Note that Chinese companies such as Huawei, Xiaomi and Haier had too few ratings to be included, but generally performed poorly when rated. Lexmark, JVC Kenwood and Sanyo were only rated by CDP but all scored poorly and are best avoided.

Brand S&P Global ESG CDP Climate CDP Water CDP Average Newsweek Greener Electronics OVERALL SCORE
Konica Minolta 88 95 80 87.5 87.75
Philips 82 100 100 100 77.9 86.63
Ricoh 85 95 80 87.5 86.25
Siemens 79 95 75 85 85.3 83.10
Electrolux 67 95 95 95 81.00
HP 90 100 100 100 67.1 65 80.53
Xerox 64 95 95 95 79.5
Nikon 66 100 80 90 78.00
Seiko Epson 73 80 80 80 76.50
Kyocera 57 95 95 95 76.00
Nvidia 72 95 75 85 62.8 73.27
Olympus 51 95 95 95 73.00
LG 78 100 100 67.5 45 72.63
Acer 87 80 80 45 70.67
Apple 29 100 100 71.5 75 68.88
Microsoft 57 100 95 97.5 66 55 68.88
Fujifilm 76 100 95 97.5 25.5 66.33
Hitachi 37 95 100 97.5 63.5 66.00
Samsung 75 95 95 95 53.7 35 64.68
Lenovo 54 95 75 85 58.8 55 63.20
Canon 53 95 80 87.5 48 62.83
Fujitsu 71 100 100 100 17.2 62.73
Panasonic 35 100 75 87.5 60.3 60.93
Nokia 40 95 95 47.1 60.70
Whirlpool 57 60 75 67.5 57.5 60.67
Dell 32 80 75 77.5 65 58.17
Sony 41 100 100 100 39.1 45 56.28
AMD 32 80 80 80 56.00
Intel 39 80 80 80 46.5 55.17
Asus 70 60 40 50 40 53.33
Toshiba 33 80 80 80 41.1 51.37
Brother 21 80 80 80 50.50
Google 38 100 100 14.9 40 48.23
Foxconn (Sharp, Belkin) 28 40 40 40 26.6 31.53
Amazon 16 0 0 0 0 4.00

Rannking by category

Digital Cameras

Brands OVERALL SCORE
Konica Minolta 87.75
Nikon 78.00
Kyocera 76.00
Olympus 73.00
LG 72.63
Fujifilm 66.33
Hitachi 66.00
Samsung 64.68
Canon 62.83
Panasonic 60.93
Dell 58.17
Sony 56.28

Printers & Copiers

Brands OVERALL SCORE
Ricoh 86.25
HP 80.53
Xerox 79.5
Epson 76.50
Kyocera 76.00
Fujifilm 66.33
Samsung 64.68
Canon 62.83
Sony 56.28
Brother 50.50

Computers, Tablets & Smartphones

Brands OVERALL SCORE
HP 80.53
LG 72.63
Acer 70.67
Apple 68.88
Microsoft 68.88
Samsung 64.68
Lenovo 63.20
Fujitsu 62.73
Panasonic 60.93
Nokia 60.70
Dell 58.17
Sony 56.28
Asus 53.33
Toshiba 51.37
Google 48.23
Amazon 4.00

Computer parts

Nvidia 73.27
Microsoft 68.88
AMD 56.00
Intel 55.17
Asus 53.33

Home appliances (vacuum cleaners, hair dryers, washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, refrigerators...)

Brands OVERALL SCORE
Philips 86.63
Bosch/Siemens 83.10
AEG Electrolux 81.00
LG 72.63
Hitachi 66.00
Samsung 64.68
Panasonic 60.93
Whirlpool 60.67
Toshiba 51.37
Sharp 31.53
Amazon 4.00

TVs & DVD players

Brands OVERALL SCORE
Philips 86.63
LG 72.63
Hitachi 66.00
Samsung 64.68
Panasonic 60.93
Sony 56.28
Asus 53.33
Toshiba 51.37
Sharp 31.53

Listing of electronic and home appliance brands by ecological rating

B & B+ : Most sustainable and eco-friendly brands

  • Electrolux
  • HP
  • Konica Minolta
  • Philips
  • Ricoh
  • Siemens

B- : Reasonably eco-friendly brands

  • Acer
  • Kyocera
  • LG
  • Nikon
  • Nvidia
  • Olympus
  • Seiko Epson
  • Xerox

C & C+ : Average brands

  • Apple
  • Canon
  • Fujifilm
  • Fujitsu
  • Hitachi
  • Lenovo
  • Microsoft
  • Nokia
  • Panasonic
  • Samsung
  • Whirlpool

C- : Below average brands

  • AMD
  • Asus
  • Brother
  • Dell
  • Intel
  • Sony
  • Toshiba

D : Avoid if possible

  • Google

E : Avoid

  • Foxconn (including subsidiaries Belkin and Sharp)

F : Avoid absolutely

  • Amazon (including Kindle and Fire HD devices)

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