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Greenpeace labels Dell 'a bloody marketing machine'

Protests against computer maker in India, Netherlands

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Greenpeace has lambasted Dell's decision to "backtrack" on its commitments to remove hazardous chemicals from all of its products.

The eco-hardliner pressure group protested outside Dell offices in Bangalore and Amsterdam yesterday, calling on the vendor to stop "backtracking" over its promises to remove polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and brominated flame retardants (BFRs) from its kit.

Dell, whose environmental credentials now trail behind the likes of Apple and HP, according to Greenpeace, is currently committing to reaching that target by next year.

However, Greenpeace is concerned that Dell will renege on that promise after ditching plans to rid its products of PVC and BFRs by 2009.

The company went on record to say it would reach that goal by 2011, but Greenpeace isn't altogether convinced.

"Dell was aspiring to be the greenest tech company on the planet," Greenpeace spokeswoman Iza Kruszewska told The Register today.

She said Dell was also the first firm to commit to eliminating harmful chemicals from its products. But other computer makers have now overtaken Dell.

"Apple, HP and even cheapo Acer, which has four lines of notebooks free of PVC and BFRs, have all jumped ahead. Shame on you Dell," said Kruszewska.

She added that lesser-known Indian PC makers also highlighted Dell's fall from Greenpeace grace, by pointing out that Wipro and HCL both offered PVC/BFRs-free computers to their customers.

Greenpeace isn't convinced that Dell will hit its 2011 target to banish the chemicals from its goods either.

"The company is just a bloody marketing machine," claimed Kruszewska, who added that Greenpeace would continue to protest against Dell's sluggish response to dropping the chemicals from its entire product range.

Dell told El Reg that it was working with its suppliers to use what it described as "environmentally preferable materials" in its products.

"We have always been committed to eliminating BFR/PVC from our products, and we plan to achieve that goal by the end of 2011 for newly introduced personal computing products," said a Dell spokesman.

"This task presents challenges, but we're working closely with our suppliers to find reliable, environmentally preferable alternatives that maintain the performance standards our customers require. Dell's Corporate Responsibility team engages with Greenpeace regularly and have been in touch regarding yesterday's activities." ®

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