Apple abandons green certification

Technology giant Apple is catching heat on blogs this week for its decision to drop out of an environmental certification program for electronics, called EPEAT.

“In making this move, Apple is signaling that it won’t let future design decisions be governed by those seeking to uphold environmental standards,” Erica Ogg writes for the GigaOm blog network.

The decision has some strong ramifications. By U.S. law, 95% of electronics purchases from U.S. federal agencies must be EPEAT-compliant, said Sarah O’Brien, spokeswoman for the group. That probably means Apple desktop and laptop computers can make up a maximum of 5% of federal agencies’ purchases, if they can buy them at all. EPEAT doesn’t certify tablets or phones, so iPads and iPhones would be OK for the agencies to buy, O’Brien said.

San Francisco also has a rule on the books prohibiting the city from purchasing desktop and laptop computers that are not EPEAT-certified, said Christine Falvey, spokeswoman for the mayor. So the city will not be able to purchase Apple desktops and laptops unless Apple gets the green certification again.

“We hope they reconsider and get back on the EPEAT certification list,” Falvey said, “and we’ll be reaching out to them to see how we can help understand their decision.”

Apple Inc.

Apple Inc. (Photo credit: marcopako )

Apple hasn’t commented on why it removed itself from EPEAT, which is awarded to electronics that are recyclable and energy-efficient. But EPEAT’s CEO, Robert Frisbee, says Apple’s “design direction” may be to blame.

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