Fighting Back


IPC is taking aim at Greenpeace for its aggressive stance against electronics OEMs and their environmental stewardship. The trade group last night issued a statement asserting Greenpeace’s quarterly report card on electronics companies is based on “faulty science.” IPC further alleges the environmental organization penalizes companies that do not subscribe to its agenda.

Thank goodness and it’s about time.

I’ve criticized Greenpeace in the past for its foolhardy attempts to globally ban on anything with even minimal toxicity while conveniently overlooking the bigger picture: many of the potential replacement materials are unproven and product that doesn’t work ends up in landfills faster than you can say “Save the whales.” Don’t get me wrong: Greenpeace is a great organization, but it is out of its league here. While some groups, like ChemSec in Europe, are very well-informed about materials science and its tradeoffs, others like Greenpeace use questionable methodologies to further their agendas. That in itself is a problem, but even worse, all the blown smoke obscures — and perhaps even diminishes — the potential for real dialogue on how to solve the bigger problems.

Greenpeace’s methods are aimed at maximizing attention for itself and putting its targets on the defensive. OEMs, faced with a no-win proposition, tend to publicly bow in the face of pressure (although apparently not fast enough for Greenpeace). I’d rather they sit down and have extensive, publicized open meetings on what it means to be environmentally responsible.

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About Mike

Mike Buetow is president of the Printed Circuit Engineering Association ( He previously was editor-in-chief of Circuits Assembly magazine, the leading publication for electronics manufacturing, and PCD&F, the leading publication for printed circuit design and fabrication. He spent 21 years as vice president and editorial director of UP Media Group, for which he oversaw all editorial and production aspects. He has more than 30 years' experience in the electronics industry, including six years at IPC, an electronics trade association, at which he was a technical projects manager and communications director. He has also held editorial positions at SMT Magazine, community newspapers and in book publishing. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Follow Mike on Twitter: @mikebuetow

2 thoughts on “Fighting Back

  1. I think what you mean by “great organization” here is “an organization that has enjoyed uncritically great public relations for decades that I never thought twice about until it finally went after my industry in the same way it went after others”.

  2. @Brent: heh. Actually, I have been more than happy to support Greenpeace’s efforts to stop illegal whaling.

    When it comes to sorting out the complex tradeoffs of electronics materials, most of which have very limited literature, not so much.

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