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.