Red-Faced Apple Returns to Green Registry

Monday, July 16, 2012

When Apple announced last month that it was withdrawing 39 of its products from a U.S. government-backed registry of environmentally friendly products, Steren Agee analyst Shaw Wu said, “At the end of the day in a business it’s really about what works.”

By the end of last week, what worked for Apple was to reverse its decision and rejoin EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool.

“We've recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system,” Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield wrote on Apple’s webpage dedicated to touting Apple’s environmental sensitivity. “I recognize that this was a mistake.”

Apple also heard from the city of San Francisco which responded to Apple’s initial decision to leave the program by informing the company that it would no longer buy Apple laptops, desktop computers or monitors for any of its 50 departments. The move is largely symbolic because only less than 2% of the city’s computers are made by Apple, according to S.F. Chief Information Officer Jon Walton.  

But dozens of universities require their information technology units to purchase EPEAT-certified computers and immediately after Apple’s pullout Cornell University and the University of California, Berkeley told the Wall Street Journal that they were reviewing their Apple purchases in light of the announcement. The federal government requires that 95% of its non-mainframe computers be EPEAT-certified.

The EPEAT standard—which was jointly created in 2006 by manufacturers (including Apple), government agencies and activist groups—requires that electronics products be designed with high energy efficiency and facilitate recycling. The EPEAT registry does not include certifications for smart phones or tablets, two growing segments of Apple’s business.


–Ken Broder


To Learn More:

Apple Returns Its Products to Green Registry (by Casey Newton, San Francisco Chronicle)

The Story Behind Apple's Environmental Footprint. (Apple website)

San Francisco Officials Plan to Block Apple Procurement (by Joel Schectman, Wall Street Journal)

Apple's Flagship Data Centre to Use Only Green Power (by Andrew Laughlin, Digital Spy)

The Definitive Global Registry for Greener Electronics (EPEAT)

Apple Removes Green Electronics Certification from Products (by Joel Schectman, Wall Street Journal)

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