Electronics Update Question 1

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Question

Material

Does the brand (company) publish its annual material footprint, or alternatively material footprints for each sold product, that includes packaging materials, and does the brand have an effective policy in place to reduce the overall environmental impact of material use?
NL: Publiceert het merk (bedrijf) een 'voetafdruk' van het totale materiaalgebruik, of de voetafdruk voor ieder type product, die het verpakkingsmateriaal omvat en heeft het merk een beleid om deze voetafdruk te verminderen?
DE: Setzt der Markenhersteller Maßnahmen um, um den Umwelteinfluss aller verarbeiteten Materialien, einschließlich Produktverpackung, zu verringern? Werden die entsprechenden Resultate zu den getroffenen Maßnahmen (Gesamtvolumen oder je verkauftem Produkt) jährlich veröffentlicht?

Water and Land

Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint and is there a policy to minimize, reduce or compensate this footprint?
Publiceert het merk (bedrijf) een voetafdruk van het landgebruik en/of het watergebruik en heeft het merk een beleid om deze voetafdruk(ken) te minimaliseren, te verlagen of te compenseren?
Wird eine Bilanzierung zum Wasser- und / oder Landverbrauch veröffentlicht? Setzt der Markenhersteller Maßnahmen um, um den Wasser- und / oder Landverbrauch zu vermindern?

Does the brand (company) publish a water and/or land use footprint that also covers its most important suppliers?
Publiceert het merk (bedrijf) een voetafdruk van het landgebruik en/of het watergebruik waarin ook de belangrijkste leveranciers zijn opgenomen?
Wird eine Bilanzierung zum Wasser- und / oder Landverbrauch veröffentlicht? Umfasst die Bilanzierung auch die wichtigsten Zulieferer?

Reference

Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE) has been working on the development of resource indicators since 2008, in partnership with the Sustainable Europe Research Institute (SERI) in Vienna. The analysis concluded that the best indicators for this purpose are:
- Carbon footprint (for this matter see our Climate Change criteria).
- Material footprint
- Water footprint
- Land footprint

Read more about FOEE footprint assessment here and download the document.

Best practices

As this is the first year that FOEE and Rank a Brand ask for the material-, water- and land footprints of electronics companies, the subject may not be fully on the radar of companies yet, meaning that the expected quality of information is not satisfactory at time of our latest research update. That is why we take the best practices approach to filter the best examples of how brands are already reporting and structuring their policies to reduce their environmental footprints.

Material

The material footprint should become a key instrument for measuring the environmental impact of electronics companies. It is related to more of our criteria, such as reducing and replacing packaging materials, to give a clear picture of recycling percentages and the use of e.g. recycled plastics.

Regarding the material footprint, we have identified a good practice example at Apple, publishing the material composition of each product. This is rewarded with a 'yes' for this update as it is a clear best practice. However, the total number of sold Apple products is not given, so it is not clear what is the total material footprint of Apple, and if the material footprint has reduced.

Water and Land

Regarding water and land we have found several electronics companies that publish on either of the footprints such as HP, Sony, Motorola, Toshiba and Philips. These footprints are however limited to owned operations. As the majority of environmental impacts are in the supply chain, that is where we like to see the reductions. Here, reporting on some first results is provided by Apple (see link, page 27-29).