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Greenpeace To Dell: Design Out Toxics Now

Protest at global headquarters highlights company’s broken promises on hazardous chemical elimination

AUSTIN, TX - A day after Greenpeace launched its latest
consumer electronics rankings, the environmental advocacy group
protested one of the poorly performing companies, computer giant Dell,
for the company’s backtracking on its public commitment to eliminate
key toxic chemicals in its products by 2009. (1) Greenpeace climbers
scaled the company’s global headquarters and hung a banner off the
building with a message directed at CEO Michael Dell: “Michael, What
the Dell? Design Out Toxics.”

Greenpeace is demanding that Dell detail a phase out plan for the end
of its use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic and brominated flame
retardants (BFRs) by the company’s new 2011 deadline. (2) The protest
follows similar demonstrations against Dell at its offices in
Bangalore, Amsterdam, and Copenhagen. (3) Dell had previously committed
to phasing out toxic chemicals by 2009, but then pushed back its goal
to the end of 2011.

Greenpeace is also running TV spots in Austin on several channels,
including MTV and ESPN, that explain Dell’s backtracking. The spot asks
Austin residents to call CEO Michael Dell and tell him to honor his
company’s word to phase out toxic chemicals. The spot is available for
download at file/3654672.

“Dell continues to sell products that are littered with toxic
chemicals, despite promises made years ago to phase them out,” said
Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner Casey Harrell. “Dell can’t
fulfill its aim to be the greenest technology company on the planet
until it follows the lead of Apple, HP and Indian brands HCL and Wipro,
which are phasing out the use of these toxic chemicals”


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Apple’s and most of HP’s new computer lines are free of PVC and BFRs,
(4) demonstrating the technical feasibility and supply chain readiness
of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances. Dell currently
stands in 10th place in the quarterly Greenpeace Guide to Greener
Electronics out today, having been penalized in the previous ranking
for its backtracking on PVC/BFR phase out. The company sits behind both
Apple and HP.

“The release of PVC/BFR free products shows that mainstream consumer
electronics can be free from these hazardous substances without
sacrificing performance,” Harrell said. “As a major brand in the
electronics sector, Dell has both the responsibility and the ability to
make sure the company is a leader on producing safe products.”

The biggest climbers in this edition of the Guide are Panasonic in
sixth up from 10th, , HP up from 11th to eighth, and Sharp from 13th to
ninth. LGE falls from sixth to 12th position, losing points on its
reporting on the energy efficiency of its products. Greenpeace has
disregarded the company’s reporting of its latest Energy Star
standards, as LGE was caught twice manipulating these efficiency
standards. (5)

The Guide’s top five ranked companies are Nokia, Sony Ericsson,
Philips, Motorola and Apple, while the bottom five ranked companies
are, in descending order: Toshiba, Fujitsu, Microsoft, Lenovo, and


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