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Apple Reverses EPEAT Decision – With New Listings, to Boot

Apple has rejoined the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool registry just days after withdrawing its 39 desktop computers, monitors and laptops – and its MacBook Pro with Retina Display, widely rumored to have been the reason for the company’s departure, has been listed as Gold-certified in the registry.

Apple’s decision to remove its products from EPEAT’s sustainability rating system was a mistake, Bob Mansfield, the company’s senior vice president of hardware engineering, said in a letter posted on the company’s website.

On Friday, all eligible Apple products were placed back on EPEAT, a move that will allow governments and universities basing their purchasing decisions on the rating system to continue to buy computers, monitors and laptops from the Cupertino, Calf.-based company. San Francisco’s city government had said last week that it would no longer be able to buy these products.

The company went a step further and gave Gold labels to the four models of its MacBook Pro with Retina display, the same device that teardown site iFixit said last month had a battery glued to the case and was the least repairable they’d ever taken apart. Online sources had speculated that this tough disassembly was behind Apple’s withdrawal from the standard – since under EPEAT, manufacturers must show that recyclers can easily disassemble their products and separate batteries and other toxic components.

Although the MacBook Pro has a Gold label today, this doesn’t mean Apple will maintain that rating, Fast Company reported. EPEAT’s certifications are based on a self-declaration system, which is then backed by post-market verification, Fast Company said.

But Mansfield said that Apple’s products go above and beyond EPEAT’s basic requirements. Apple has led the industry in removing harmful toxins, such as brominated flame retardants and polyvinyl chloride, and its entire product line exceeds the government’s Energy Star 5.2 standard, Mansfield said. The Apple executive called for the IEEE 1680.1 standard, on which the EPEAT rating system is based, to be upgraded to include some stricter requirements, such as avoiding the use of toxins.

EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee said in an open letter posted Friday that the organization was looking forward to Apple’s thoughts on ongoing standards development. He didn’t provide a timeline or make any specific commitments to how the standard might evolve.

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4 thoughts on “Apple Reverses EPEAT Decision – With New Listings, to Boot

  1. Forced consumption regardless of the raw materials. But then again, isn’t that what Apple is all about…how many times will the iPhone and iPad be revamped and relaunched?

  2. Just in case anyone thinks that Apple did this because they’re concerned about the environment, they’re not. The reason they reversed their position on the EPEAT registry is because it generated enough negative press that they concluded this press would I negatively impact their bottom line to the point that reversing its decision was cost-effective.

    I am not saying that Apple is only concerned about profit, but I am saying that there are far too many iPad and iPod users out there who think Apple can do no wrong and that is simply not true.

  3. Unfortunately, Apple has been corrupted by its own success and historic customer loyalty, and has embarked on the standard consumerist – design for obsolescence and regular replacement, rather than designed for lifelong evolution and spiral upgrade. Obviously the top line costs of continuing to provide EPAT (but not really sustainable) products drove the initial decision. However, the lack of potential public sector sales, and negative ‘green IT’ PR, has reversed this consumerist decision. Multiple iphones, ipads, Mac machines, and OS upgrades every year, and not being able to replace simple things like batteries etc, do raise questions over how sustainable Apple products really are? I believe Apple is now too big and successful and is displaying the typical arrogance of highly successful companies – do not mistake customer brand loyalty for customer stupidity. Apply is now displaying the classic behaviours that drove me from MicroSoft, and am now seriously considering how long I stay ‘loyal’, but not stupid. Steve Jobs will be spinning in his grave now.

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