Stop Global Warming One Toshiba Laptop At A Time!

Dennis Faas's picture

UK laptop buyers will now have greener purchasing options thanks to a recent Toshiba initiative. For an extra £1.18 (or $2.43) Toshiba will plant a tree in the consumer's name, which they claim will "offset the lifetime carbon footprint of your computer."

One of several companies to launch recent green initiatives, Toshiba's new program is certainly a step in the right direction. However, critics warn that these activities may give consumers a false sense of accomplishment. (Source:

Toshiba will plant native UK trees and smaller ground cover species for the next two years as part of the Toshiba Carbon Zero Scheme. The company will work in partnership with the UK non-profit group CO2Balance. Each tree can absorb up to one ton of carbon in its lifetime, therefore "canceling out" the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions the laptop will create during its use.

Carbon offsets are designed to compensate for the amount of CO2 gas emitted in the process of manufacturing or using a product. Offsets are typically traded by intermediate companies, and generally include investing in activities that are carbon-reducing or carbon-sequestering. Carbon-reducing activities can include funding alternative energy sources such as wind power, while carbon-sequestering activities such as tree planting help to remove existing CO2 from the atmosphere. (Source:

As environmental concerns like global warming become more prominent in the public consciousness, many companies are recognizing the need to implement "green branding" strategies. Carbon-neutrality is a great marketing tool, and it is quite successful since it is easy to carry out and results in an immediate sense of accomplishment in fighting the global climate battle.

Toshiba is one of several companies cashing in on the positive press generated by green computing initiatives. Dell's "Plant a Tree for Me" campaign launched a few months ago, and both Microsoft and Sony have made announcements about upcoming green strategies.

Encouraging green computing practices is an important measure towards counteracting global environmental degradation. However, many organizations have argued that carbon offsets alone are not enough. Critics of carbon offsetting have disparaged the system for allowing consumers peace of mind without encouraging them to change their patterns of consumption -- a catch-22 situation in which the offsets do not contribute to any real reduction of CO2. (Source:

There are additional areas of environmental concern that offsetting alone does not address, such as the waste generated by obsolete computer components and the absence of enough programs for proper recycling.

Offering consumers a chance to make greener purchases is a big step in the right direction, and Toshiba's carbon offset strategy is well developed. As environmental issues become increasingly urgent, we are sure to see some great innovations in the computer industry. As they say, necessity is the mother of invention, and for companies like Toshiba, invention is the name of the game.

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