Sometimes companies need to be reminded of their environmental commitments--like HP's 2007 promise to stop putting toxic chemicals in their computer products. That's why Greenpeace activists climbed to the top of HP's global headquarters in Palo Alto California , and William Shatner (yes, Captain James T. Kirk) recorded a special voice message for all the staff in the building.

HP was being called-out for backtracking on its commitments to phase out toxic chemicals from its products by the end of this year. It cost them a penalty point in our Guide to Greener Electronics last month, along with Dell and Lenovo. So to get them back onto the straight and narrow, we're delivering reminders to the company at their buildings, in the press and online.

Today's action follows similar demonstrations at HP offices in China and the Netherlands highlighting the continued presence of toxic chemicals in its products.

Shameful flip-flop
Earlier this year, HP postponed its 2007 commitment to phase out dangerous substances such as brominated flame retardants (BFR) and PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic from their computer products (excluding their server and printer lines) from 2009 to 2011.

It's shameful that HP is continuing to put hazardous products on the market, despite the promises it made. It should be following the lead of companies like Apple, which has led the sector in phasing out these toxic chemicals.

Others are getting off the toxic stuff
Apple's new computer lines, virtually free of PVC and completely BFR-free, demonstrate the technical feasibility and supply-chain readiness of producing alternatives to these hazardous substances. Dell, Lenovo and Acer have also stayed ahead of HP, putting models on the market that are free of, or at least significantly reduced in their use of, PVC and BFRs.

So it can be done, other companies are moving much faster that the world's number one seller of PCs. If HP wants to remain a market leader and not just another purveyor of harmful products, it needs to get back on track and eliminate BFRs and PVC from its products by the end of this year, as promised.

More photos of the action in Palo Alto.