Greenpeace Asks IT CEOs to Campaign on Environment

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Greenpeace is challenging the leaders of the biggest electronics and IT companies to back up their claims of green credentials by actively campaigning for strong action at this year's Copenhagen meeting on the environment.

Governments will gather in Copenhagen later this year at a conference to reach an agreement that will come into force when the Kyoto Protocol expires in 2012.

"We've seen a lot of talk for sometime," said Tom Dowdall, coordinator of the Greenpeace electronics campaign, in an interview at the Cebit trade fair. "But if you believe what you say, it's time to start moving."

Greenpeace has sent letters to the chief executives of 14 of the biggest names in IT, challenging them to four specific actions: to publicly demonstrate support for a strong deal at the Copenhagen conference; to lobby their government to support mandatory legislation at the conference; to significantly cut absolute emissions at their own companies; and to increase use of renewable energy.

With the sole exception of Finland's Nokia, all the companies targeted are Japanese- or U.S.-based, and that's no coincidence. The governments of both countries are dragging their feet on committing to aggressive, absolute climate change goals, according to the organization, and are being targeted by Greenpeace.

Reaction to the new campaign, which was made public on Tuesday at Cebit but which started earlier, has been mixed so far, said Dowdall. Replies have already been received from Microsoft, Fujitsu, Sharp and Nokia, and the environmental group plans talks with these companies.

No answer has yet come from the other companies and Tuesday's launch of the campaign is meant to increase the pressure on them to respond. The companies are Cisco, Dell, Google, HP, IBM, Intel, Panasonic, Sony, Sun Microsystems and Toshiba.

The next step in the campaign will come in about a month when Greenpeace details its progress and which companies haven't responded to its letter.

Greenpeace has been highlighting the environmental friendliness, or lack thereof, of products made by some of the biggest names in IT for the past few years. Its green IT ranking has become a quarterly barometer on the efforts companies are making in getting toxics out of their products and work in other areas like recycling.

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