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Ethical brand ratings and accreditation since 2001

Ethical laptops, PCs and tablets

Sustainable & Ethical Computers

See our Ethical PCs, Laptops and Tablets Ratings Table to compare brands

Why are sustainable computers needed?

Computers are often considered an essential item. So many of us use our computers or laptops for work, personal admin or entertainment. The latest data from Statista shows that roughly 88% of households in the UK now own at least one computer. With more of us than ever working from home, and with much of that work being digital, owning a computer is seen by many as a basic necessity. Given the sheer size of the computer market, it is vital to ensure we are buying sustainable computers from ethical computer brands to minimise our social and environmental impact. 

This article will explore the ethical issues involved in the production of PCs, laptops, and tablets, as well as the unethical activities that some computer brands are involved in.  

Computer brands and their connections to conflict minerals

Most computers and tablets are made with conflict minerals. Conflict minerals come with an array of human rights issues, as they are typically sourced from countries experiencing violence and political instability, where the money from the minerals is used to fund further conflict. 

See our Ethical Mobile Phones article to find out more about why conflict minerals are such a major concern in the Technology sector. You can check the conflict minerals statements of computer brands to ensure they are being transparent about where they source their materials.

Fortunately, our Ethical PCs, Laptops & Tablets Ratings Table offers you an easy way to find sustainable computers from ethical computer brands who have clear policies on conflict minerals. All you need to do is look for brands in the green section of our table and see what options they offer for sustainable computers or tablets.

As well as the use of conflict minerals, there are other human rights concerns that some computer brands are involved in. Some of the computer brands in our list have been found to have committed labour abuses. These include forced labour and even child labour. Ethical customers will want to avoid companies involved in these unethical activities when searching for sustainable computers

Elements known as “conflict minerals” are often obtained from war-torn areas, especially the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where the income from these resources go toward sustaining violence, conflict, and human rights abuses. Other minerals have also been linked to this problem. Tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold are the key conflict minerals, also known as 3TG.

Several of these minerals are necessary for producing a variety of home devices, such as mobile phones, computers, and televisions. Due diligence and clarity regarding the possibility of conflict minerals in their supply chains are thus crucial from the businesses that sell these goods.

To find out more about how we rate brands for their conflict mineral usage and policies, visit our methodology page.

Our independent research: Computer brands and political donations

Our latest research into the PCs, Laptops, and Tablets sector has revealed some ongoing unethical activities that popular computer companies have been involved in. We have identified some of the worst examples, so you know which brands to avoid when looking for sustainable computers or tablets.

We have marked down some brands for making Political Donations to politicians or parties, primarily in the United States. At The Good Shopping Guide, we firmly believe that companies should not be influencing democracies. All companies found to be making political donations over £10,000 are marked down in our research.

Political donations are especially relevant to the technology sector, making some of the largest donations we have ever uncovered. These computer brands include Apple, Dell, HP, and Toshiba, but the worst offenders are Kindle (an Amazon subsidiary) and Microsoft. According to Open Secrets, Microsoft donated over $24 million to U.S. political parties and candidates between 2018 and 2022, whilst Amazon donated a whopping $29 million. (Another reason to avoid Mr Bezos!)

Ethical laptops, pcs and tablets, political donations

What is an ‘eco-label’ on my sustainable computer?

Once you have identified the most ethical computer brands to choose from from our Ethical PCs, Laptops & Tablets Ratings Table, you’ll need to know how to find the most sustainable computers within their product range. Here are some handy tips and tricks to finding sustainable computers.

Check whether the product carries an eco-label to ensure your next computer is made to the highest environmental standards. An eco-label certification confirms that a product has a reduced impact on the environment throughout its lifecycle. 

For instance, products that are TCO certified must meet the TCO standards on several social and environmental issues, including worker’s rights, conflict minerals, durability, and recyclability. Many sustainable computers will carry eco-labels, so you can check this before you make a purchase.

The benefits of a second-hand computer

Additionally, have you considered buying a second-hand computer or refurbished computer? Much of the social and environmental impact from a computer- such as mining for conflict minerals- comes from the production and manufacturing process. 

A refurbished or second-hand computer is a great option for reducing the demand for conflict minerals and increasing the lifecycle of a product. Buying a second-hand computer avoids directly financing unethical computer brands. There are many online sites, as well as local stores, that offer options for a second-hand computer at affordable prices.

If you have a PC, you may also benefit from buying second-hand computer parts, which can often be a lot cheaper than buying a brand new PC. For instance, if your monitor is broken, why not buy a second-hand computer monitor, rather than a brand new one? Some computer brands specialise in creating technology that is designed to be repaired, rather than manufacturing planned obsolescence, as many large tech brands are guilty of. 

See our Ethical PCs, Laptops and Tablets Ratings Table to compare brands

The Good Shopping Guide has ranked and rated the most popular tech brands, so that consumers can buy ethical and sustainable computers, laptops and tablets. But as well as formulating a rating for brands in each research category, we have also compiled detailed reports on every brand on our tables. Click on a brand name to read more information about brands and their ethics, their histories and their sustainability certifications and policies.

Acer, ASUS, Dynabook, LG, Avita, Venturer, Alienware, Dell, Honor, Apple, HP, Lenovo, MEDION, Fire, Kindle, Microsoft, Samsung and Huawei.