The latest edition of the Greenpeace Guide, which ranks companies on their policies regarding chemicals and waste, shows Chinese firm Lenovo (LNVGY) in the top position, displacing Nokia from the lead it had maintained since the Guide was launched.

Sony and LG Electronics receive penalty points for operating double standards on their e-waste takeback policies across the world, losing their places in the top five, while Apple, having made no progress since the launch of the Guide in August 2006, continues to languish in last place, far behind all other major manufacturers.

"Given the growing mountains of e-waste in China – both imported and domestically generated – it is heartening to see a Chinese company taking the lead, and assuming responsibility at least for its own branded waste," said Iza Kruszewska, Greenpeace International Toxics Campaigner, "The challenge for the industry now is to see who will actually place greener products on the market."

Lenovo, which bought IBM's consumer electronics division in 2005, scores top marks on its e-waste policies and practice; the company offers take-back and recycling in all the countries where its products are sold. Lenovo also reports the amount of e-waste it recycles as a percentage of its sales. However, the company has yet to put on the market products that are free of the worst chemicals.

Other companies in the top five include Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Dell and Samsung, in that order.

Sony Ericsson has moved back up the guide — they were third in August 2006 — and is the first company to set a timeline of 1st January 2008 for eliminating substances in addition to those banned by the European RoHS Directive, including phthalates, beryllium and some uses of antimony compounds.

Sony and LG Electronics have been penalized for practicing double standards on their regional and national policies for recycling their own-branded products. While both companies support Individual Producer Responsibility elsewhere in the world, in the United States they are part of a coalition opposing producer responsibility laws and calling for consumers, instead of producers, to pay for the recycling of e-waste.

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