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Apple: “Mistake” To Leave Green Products Registry EPEAT

Apple: “Mistake” To Leave Green Products Registry EPEAT

Apple has publicly stated that dropping the EPEAT rating from its products was a “mistake” and that its eligible products are back on the list.

At the end of June, Apple had withdrawn its 39 eligible products from EPEAT, the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool. The public response was swift and not at all impressed, for all that Apple talked up its webpage about its environmental footprint and noted that it is an industry leader in reporting greenhouse gas emissions. The city of San Francisco said it would no longer buy Macs and the federal government, the University of California at Berkeley and numerous universities and companies said they were deliberating if they should stop buying Apple products.

Apple’s Senior VP of Product Engineering Bob Mansfield acknowledge the company’s “mistake” in an open letter on Apple’s website:

“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.”

As Ars Technica details, Mansfield specifically cited a number of ways that Apple’s products are green, due to its removing toxins including brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from them. All Apple products “[meet] or [exceed] the current EnergyStar 5.2 standards set by the US government,” Mansfield noted.

The main reason behind Apple’s withdrawal from the EPEAT program was, it is widely thought, that star products including the third-generation iPad and the MacBookPro Retina cannot be readily disassembled with common tools.

Ars Technica underscored how public anger played a role in Apple’s change of stance:

Apple initially defended its decision by pointing out that it holds its products to environmental standards that aren’t even measured by EPEAT, but it seems the general public’s reaction to the news was just too much for the company. It’s not often Apple ends up backing out of a major corporate decision so quickly after it was announced (and some could argue that such a thing would never happen under former CEO Steve Jobs, who was known for his stubbornness). It’s clear, however, that the company saw some value in re-joining EPEAT—if only to save face in light of the poor public reaction.

EPEAT has also written a letter about Apple’s decision to return to the certification program.

While it is commendable that Apple has admitted its mistake, its departure from and hasty return to EPEAT is a reminder to the public about how important it is to tell Apple that users of its products care a lot about the impact of their iDevices on the environment. Electronics are worth far more when they are not only shiny but green, too.

 

Related Care2 Coverage

Apple Could Lose the Federal Government’s Business

Why Apple Lost San Francisco’s Heart: City To Stop Buying Macs

How Green Was Apple: Products Lose Environmentally Friendly Certication

 

 

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Photo by Dushaun Sattiewhite

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10 comments

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1:05AM PDT on Jul 16, 2012

At the end of the day, I simply don't buy Apple products. I've used them in the past, and have never been impressed by any of them. Even when the iPhone first came out, my first thought on physically seeing one was: "That POS is what all the fuss is about? PASS!" I've never seen the big deal about their stuff in the first place. Oooh, it's shiny. Yippee. Still don't want one. Especially not when you consider how much lip service Apple gives to improving conditions for the workers in the factories that actually manufacture this stuff, and the fact that the conditions have reportedly gotten WORSE since vague inspections began.

9:24PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Thank you for the information.

8:38PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

My friend is one of the customer (NON) support people that get to hear customers cry all day how is that they payed $600 for a phone and then realize there is no customer service past 90 days! Unless they want to pay MORE.

12:53PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

I still will not buy Apple products.

12:04PM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

I was vocally upset with Apple's decision but now I am quite impressed with their turnaround. In my experience, corporation's are terrible at admitting mistakes so Apple's capacity here is amazing. Hurray for them!

10:06AM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Apple realized the foolhardiness of their decision almost immediately.

It reminds me of the New Coke debacle - but it took Coca Cola much longer to respond.

8:29AM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

Thank you for the article...

4:00AM PDT on Jul 14, 2012

smart customers!
at least they listen to them.

3:53PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Lol
Wow

1:05PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Ha, I'll bet their sorry now!

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