Where do you draw the green line when it comes to buying a notebook? I may have crossed it with my purchase yesterday of an Acer Aspire One netbook -- ironically, to cover an environmental summit in Istanbul in two weeks. Between the jet fuel and Acer's poor environmental record, I may be doing more harm than good.

Kevin Ferguson, Contributor

March 4, 2009

2 Min Read

Where do you draw the green line when it comes to buying a notebook? I may have crossed it with my purchase yesterday of an Acer Aspire One netbook -- ironically, to cover an environmental summit in Istanbul in two weeks. Between the jet fuel and Acer's poor environmental record, I may be doing more harm than good.Acer's Aspire One is a step in the right direction. It uses the Intel Atom processor, which is manufactured in a lead-free process, per the EU RoHS Directive. And being a netbook, it uses less electricity and is housed in fewer pounds of plastic and metal than larger notebook computers.

But Acer lags other vendors in computer recycling and "take-back" efforts. And while Acer appears to be improving its environmental record with commitments to phase out all phthalates, beryllium and compounds, and antimony and compounds in all new products by 2012, it continues to be vilified by Taiwanese environmental groups, which accuse the manufacturer of gross violations. The comments became particularly pointed following Acer's December 2008 corporate social responsibility gathering. Among the manufacturers presenting was AU Optronics Corp., Taiwan's largest producer of flat-panel displays, which they accuse of improperly discharging "wastewater into Shiao-Li River in Hsin-Chu County over the past eight years." AUO at the conference promised to reduce its domestic water and electricity consumption by 10% between 2007 and 2010.

Separately, Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics most recently placed Acer in seventh place, tied with Panasonic with 4.3 points:

"It owes this position to its efforts on toxic chemicals with a commitment to phase out all phthalates, beryllium and compounds, and antimony and compounds in all new products by 2012. Acer scores poorly on e-waste even though it is reporting a recycling rate of 31.7%, based on past sales, for desktops and notebooks sold and recycled in Taiwan. On energy, Acer only scores on energy efficiency. Since 20 July 2007, 75% of Acer's notebook PCs, 10% of desktop PCs, and 100% of LCD monitors have been verified as Energy Star compliant."

In its own defense, Acer in September outlined five areas of environmental efforts:

About the Author(s)

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like


More Insights