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TMCNet:  How Wipro rose to become world's No. 1 environment-friendly electronics company [Computing] [Times of India]

[November 22, 2012]

How Wipro rose to become world's No. 1 environment-friendly electronics company [Computing] [Times of India]

(Times of India Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) BANGALORE: Just seven years ago, Greenpeace activists protested outside Wipro's Sarjapur Road campus for the company's use of hazardous substances in its hardware products and the absence of a take-back policy. This week, the environment activist group released a report that ranked Wipro No. 1 -- above HP, Apple and Dell -- in a list of the greenest electronics companies in the world.

Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics is into its 18th edition and benchmarks the best practices of electronics companies on three parameters - energy, climate products and sustainable operations. Wipro has an overall score of 7.1 on a scale of 10, the highest among the 16 companies surveyed. HP dropped from the top spot in last year's edition to second this year. Nokia moved up from No. 4 to No. 3, and Apple dropped from 5 to 6. HCL Infosystems is the only other Indian company on the list, and shares the 13th position with Japanese electronics maker Sharp.

Raghavendra Prakash S, head of Wipro's systems & technology business, said the company had defined quantifiable metrics to ensure that its products were environment-friendly.

Wipro won points for its commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 44% by 2015. The company outperformed its 2010 target of 9% reduction in GHG, and achieved 11%.

About 85% of emission reduction is planned to be achieved through use of renewable energy. The company increased its renewable energy target from 5 million units in 2010-11 to 56.6 million units in 2011-12 through a combination of renewable energy purchases and its own generation, accounting for 17% of total office energy consumption.

The company has put in place systems for the traceability of components and products for desktops, laptops and notebooks by assigning them with barcodes and serial numbers. "The database helps us to track the life of a product. This also enables us to implement an effective take-back policy," Prakash said. A policy to take back products from customers once they are keen to dispose of them enables proper recycling of products.

The company provides take-back service to its customers through collection centres across the country. "We collected 49 tonnes of waste in 2008; that rose to 230 tonnes last year," Prakash said.

Today, 80% of Wipro's IT products are free of polyvinyl chloride plastic (PVC) and brominated flame retardants. Phasing out of products that have PVC and brominated flame retardants has been a major Greenpeace demand. PVC is found is a range of consumer products from cables to credit cards and window blinds, and ends up in landfills. "We launched a protest asking Wipro to clear up products containing PVC as it produces one of the most harmful chemicals, including dioxin. These products can leak harmful additives during use and when they are burned," said Abhishek Pratap, senior campaigner in Greenpeace India.

All of Wipro's products are compliant with Energy Star (ES) requirements, and 52% of them exceed ES 5 standards. Energy Star is a US government initiative to improve the energy efficiency of products.

(c) 2012 Bennett, Coleman & Company Limited

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