Apple Admits They Were Wrong To Abandon EPEAT Environmental Standard

Apple Admits They Were Wrong To Abandon EPEAT Environmental Standard

In a very unusual revearsal from their previous position, Apple has re-embraced EPEAT environmental standards for all of its products.

Apple’s Bob Mansfield has penned an open letter to customers, reading:

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. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.

It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.

For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.

Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim.

We think the IEEE 1680.1 standard could be a much stronger force for protecting the environment if it were upgraded to include advancements like these. This standard, on which the EPEAT rating system is based, is an important measuring stick for our industry and its products.

Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.

Apple was apparently surprised by the backlash that arose from many government and enterprise customers as a result of them rejecting EPEAT, which resulted in at least one city — San Francisco — immediately putting a freeze on future Mac purchasing.

It makes sense that Apple would want to abandon EPEAT: EPEAT doesnot measure smartphones and tablets, and EPEAT rated products have to meet the requirement of ”disassemble-ability” for recycling purposes. Most of Apple’s designs make it very difficult to take a product apart.

That said, it’s pretty clear Apple caught a lot of people by surprise with this move, and this backtracking is basically an admission by Cupertino that they should have been working harder with EPEAT to evolve the current rating system, not pulling out of the standard entirely.

  • Source Apple
  • Thanks Berian!
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  • Derek Schlicker

    I’m really surprised that they were surprised at the backlash to be honest. You push and push for an environmental standard then you pull your products from said standard and expect no response? I could understand if they felt the standard wasn’t good enough but that still doesn’t justify pulling your products off the standard. Doesn’t make sense.

  • joewaylo

    I’m sure Apple will soon enough provide instructions to EPEAT how to remove the battery glue. They just don’t like us tampering with them.

  • ConstableOdo

    They just realized what I could have told them. They’ll lose business which means losing money. I’m sure Wall Street hated the idea and would cry to anyone listening that Apple committing enterprise suicide. Apple truly needs those government and federal contracts to increase market share and possibly bring some stability to the company. Wall Street always says that consumers, due to their whimsical nature, aren’t consistent enough to carry a company.

  • technochick

    I’m sure Apple will soon enough provide instructions to EPEAT how to remove the battery glue. They just don’t like us tampering with them.

    EPEAT isn’t a recycle company. And It doesn’t matter if they know how, that isn’t what makes something pass the tests.

    Apple isn’t changing their designs or such. In another 3-4 years they won’t have anything that fits the current rules if they stick to the assumed plans, and I think they will. If that means San Fran won’t be running on macs so be it

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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