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Apple Goes Back To EPEAT 225

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a followup to news from last weekend that Apple had turned its back on the EPEAT hardware certification standard. After hearing criticism from customers, the media, and governmental organizations that Apple wasn't being environmentally friendly, the company's Hardware Engineering VP, Bob Mansfield, wrote today that its earlier decision was a mistake, and all of Apple's eligible products are back on EPEAT. (EPEAT welcomed Apple back with open arms.) Mansfield repeated an earlier statement from Apple that EPEAT does not measure all the ways in which the company's products are environmentally friendly. Mansfield said, "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."
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Apple Goes Back To EPEAT

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  • by plover (150551) * on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:12PM (#40641833) Homepage Journal

    Mansfield went on to state that Apple would use only genuine Congalese tantalum, African conflict diamonds, rainforest teak, and Iranian oil based lubricants; and furthermore the iOS developers would smoke only Tibetan opium. "No one else in our industry can afford to make those claims, bitches!" he cackled.

    At press time, the reporters were too mellow from the complimentary Afghan bud to harsh his groove. Steve Jobs could not be reached for comment.

  • Brilliant PR move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrEricSir (398214) on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:17PM (#40641893) Homepage

    1. Tell everyone you're leaving an environmental program
    2. Issue press release saying you're not leaving
    3. Use this chance to tell reporters that your products are more environmentally friendly than the competition

    I have to admit it's a clever strategy.

    • by FellowConspirator (882908) on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:24PM (#40642009)

      Lather, rinse, EPEAT.

    • I'm wondering if there's been some behind-the-scenes wrangling with EPEAT. The organization had already stated that a number of its evaluation processes are out of date, and they don't address the hottest sectors (phones, tablets) at all. Perhaps there's been some additional promises to move on that - and maybe in a way that'll let Apple claim additional PR points, such as "the iPad 4 is the only EPEAT-certified tablet on the market".

    • Re:Brilliant PR move (Score:5, Informative)

      by westlake (615356) on Friday July 13, 2012 @04:24PM (#40642941)

      Or maybe not so brilliant.

      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.

      A Letter From Bob Mansfield [apple.com]

      The mistake was in ignoring the needs and values of institutional, enterprise, and governmental markets where Apple had been finally making some headway.

      Organizations which have policies to require EPEAT compliance include Ford Motor Co., KPMG and Kaiser Permanente, in the private sector, as well as several universities and federal, state and municipal agencies. The U.S. government requires that 95% of the electronics purchased by its agencies be certified by EPEAT.

      According to the DOE, environmental benefits of EPEAT purchasing in FY11 included an energy savings of 50 million kilowatt hours and a projected cost savings of $4.8 million.

      [David Daoud, research director, PCs and Green IT, at IDC] said Apple is bound to find some resistance from buyers who aren't happy about the decision, but believes it needs only to have "a PR discussion" as to "why they're not being environmental. If you're Apple you have to look at the implications of certifying every single product. As much as I'd love to say it's a bad move, the financial guys are looking at it differently."

      EPEAT Customers React to Apple's Withdrawal [informationweek.com]

      PR was not enough.

  • EPEAT caves (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jbolden (176878) on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:19PM (#40641941) Homepage

    I think the /. summary has this a bit backwards. Just read the letter from EPEAT:

    We look forward to Apple’s strong and creative thoughts on ongoing standards development. The outcome must reward new directions for both design and sustainability, simultaneously supporting the environment and the market for all manufacturers’ elegant and high-performance products.

    An interesting question for EPEAT is how to reward innovations that are not yet envisioned with standards that are fixed at a point in time. Diverse goals, optional points awarded for innovations not yet described, and flexibility within specified parameters to make this happen are all on the table in EPEAT stakeholder discussions. And of course, timely standards development, as with newly created Imaging Equipment and Television standards, and the current refresh of the PC/Display standard, is critical as well.

    This was a messy situation and I think EPEAT did the right thing here in moving forward on recycling standards for computers and smartphones with closed cases and non removable batteries. So I'm happy that we are going to end up with better standards for recycling and at the same time Apple doesn't break with the environmental groups. This is a win-win in terms of policy that probably wouldn't have happened if Apple hadn't publicly stormed off. But /. shouldn't be writing this up as Apple caving to criticism. Their policies on recycling (i.e. the need for an expert recycler like http://www.werecycle.com/ [werecycle.com] ) haven't changed its EPEAT that is altering policy.

    • Apple helped create the EPEAT standards alongside the other stakeholders who helped define it.

      Apple even has a contract to recycle products from ANY manufacturer [srsapp.com], for free, with free shipping fees and boxes provided. What other vendor does this? Who puts their money where their mouth is on the environment?

      Apple's products, in real, practical terms, are MORE recyclable, in terms of recyclable content contained therein, and the ability to actually recycle them — albeit by using Apple's programs for thin

      • by jbolden (176878)

        I think the reason that GreenPeace targets Apple is that Apple is probably the only computer manufacturer that would care much what Greenpeace things. Apple's brand and their marketing appeal to:

        High Openness (which is an effective proxy for liberal)
        Low Dogmatism (i.e. non religious, which tilts liberal)
        Low Modesty (which is going to correlate strongly with socially liberal)
        High Perfectionism
        Sense of Superiority (proxy for economically advantaged)

        Greenpeace can hurt Apple's air of cool. Greenpeace can't h

    • One thing I missed when I replied to your comment initially, that is most interesting:

      The Retina MacBook Pro is EPEAT Gold in the US and Canada. [apple.com]

  • epeat? (Score:5, Funny)

    by chinton (151403) <chinton001-slashdot@gmail . c om> on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:20PM (#40641943) Journal
    Is that 2.718 championships?
  • I wonder what kind of back deals finally convinced EPEAT to give Apple the seal of approval.
    • by Nixoloco (675549)

      I wonder what kind of back deals finally convinced EPEAT to give Apple the seal of approval.

      They didn't give them the seal of approval. Apple still has many products that met the EPEAT certification requirements. However, the newer products with glued batteries and screen components do not. Those products still do not meet the EPEAT requirements and are not certified. Apple withdrew *all* of their products from the certificated list and stated they would no longer pursue the certification. Based on the response from their customers, they have decided to reapply the certification for their existin

      • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Friday July 13, 2012 @04:13PM (#40642793)

        Apple still has many products that met the EPEAT certification requirements. However, the newer products with glued batteries and screen components do not.

        The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has an EPEAT Gold rating - so no, that's not it.

        If you're talking about phones and tablets... currently EPEAT doesn't rate them - at all - for any manufacturer.

        • by Nixoloco (675549)

          Apple still has many products that met the EPEAT certification requirements. However, the newer products with glued batteries and screen components do not.

          The MacBook Pro with Retina Display has an EPEAT Gold rating - so no, that's not it.

          If you're talking about phones and tablets... currently EPEAT doesn't rate them - at all - for any manufacturer.

          .. and you are correct [apple.com].
          I was under the impression that the glue used on the battery and screen would cause issues with regard to recycling the battery and screen components in a standard way would prevent certification.

          • I was under the impression that the glue used on the battery and screen would cause issues with regard to recycling the battery and screen components in a standard way would prevent certification.

            It certainly prevents a user from doing his/her own recycling. But I'm guessing since Apple will take the laptops back and recycle them, they don't get dinged.

            However I would like to see some light shed on Apple's recycling program, just to make sure all the bits are above-board. I am not meaning to denigrate Apple - I use their hardware. But given that we can't recycle these things ourselves, I want to know they're doing it properly... and I'd want the same level of oversight given to any other manufacture

    • Epeat was in the wrong. Making it so Apple has to remove the battery guaranteed it was recycled. Unlike other PCs where people often just chuck it in the normal bin like any other battery.
  • by frnic (98517) on Friday July 13, 2012 @03:28PM (#40642053)

    I commend Apple for saying in public "we were wrong".

    • Yes, we need more of this. Everyone's wrong sometime, and it's important to step up and admit it.
      • Yes, we need more of this. Everyone's wrong sometime, and it's important to step up and admit it.

        I was wrong earlier.

        It was when I'd previously said "I was wrong", but it turned out I was right. So, I admit it - I was right all along; but in not realizing that immediately, I was wrong.

    • by scubamage (727538)
      I don't. Words are cheap, what are they doing about it? If, as an engineer, I make a terrible gaffe, I am supposed to fix it, or at least provide details on how a fix could be ascertained and ensure that such a fix is implemented.
      • Words are cheap, what are they doing about it?

        For one thing, Apple is providing a recycling program for its own hardware, provided you happen to live within reasonable driving distance of an Apple Retail Store.

    • I commend Apple for saying in public "we were wrong".

      Apple didn't have any choice, big customers were walking away in droves. The only way to get Apple's attention is a good switch kick in the wallet.

  • Few things surprise me, but this one does. But it goes to show that without Steve Jobs, Apple doesn't have quite the strength of backbone that it once had. We may see many more examples of bending over backward before long.

  • So I guess since apple is returning to epeat we can all return our new macbooks and get removable screens and batteries now? Or did nothing actually change?
    • Nothing has actually changed except that Apple will go back to identifying products that are EPEAT compliant as such, which lets Apple sell those products to organizations that require that certification. The retina MBP is not one of these; Apple hasn't said anything about modifying its construction, and doubtless doesn't intend to. As a high end laptop sold more to individuals to organizations, its sales are not all that dependent upon EPEAT certification anyway. EPEAT has has indicated willingness to cons

  • If Steve Jobs was around and decided that Apple should not be part of EPEAT, then Apple would remain off EPEAT for good regardless of consumer opinion or corporate backlash. Instead the new Apple appears to pander to the same.

    Apple lost its balls with Steve.

    Microsoft is the definitive champion of a business model involving brash announcements, gathering of opinion, and eventual backpedaling, hopefully Tim Cooke is not looking to take over that title.

    • Microsoft is the definitive champion of a business model involving brash announcements, gathering of opinion, and eventual backpedaling, hopefully Tim Cooke is not looking to take over that title.

      Cook won't take over that title but he will give Ballmer a good run for it. See, Tim Cook can't bellow.

    • If Steve Jobs was around and decided that Apple should not be part of EPEAT, then Apple would remain off EPEAT for good regardless of consumer opinion or corporate backlash. Instead the new Apple appears to pander to the same.

      Apple lost its balls with Steve.

      Microsoft is the definitive champion of a business model involving brash announcements, gathering of opinion, and eventual backpedaling, hopefully Tim Cooke is not looking to take over that title.

      I think you have a short memory. The Apple community has always been very vocal about stuff they don't like and having Apple backpedal. Way back when "Apple is dying" days, there would be an update, or a change and the Apple community would be up in arms across all the Apple fan sites. A week or two later there would be a "Sorry, didn't know you wanted that. There we put it back." announcement.

  • by Cutting_Crew (708624) on Friday July 13, 2012 @04:14PM (#40642799)
    "wrote today that its earlier decision was a mistake"

    we thought we could get away with it. our intentions weren't a mistake. Thinking there wouldn't be as much of an outcry was actually the mistake.
    • by tgibbs (83782)

      ...and we'll go back to doing exactly the same thing we were doing before, selling our products that are EPEAT compliant to organizations that require that certification, and selling non-compliant products without it--with the understanding that EPEAT will work with us to develop a policy that certifies all of our devices based upon our recycling program, instead of how they are constructed.

  • by sl4shd0rk (755837) on Friday July 13, 2012 @04:43PM (#40643203)

    That is why Apple ditched EPEAT in the first place. Being able to disassemble toxic components "with common tools" [cnet.com] is a requirement of EPEAT compatibility. Did EPEAT just magically excuse Apple from this?

    FTFA linked in TFA: "EPEAT requirements hold that electronics must be easy to disassemble, so their components can be recycled. The iPhone, the iPad, and the new MacBook Pro with Retina display don't pass muster..."

    • by Above (100351)

      I've not understood this argument. If you're disassembling to recycle damage isn't a concern. All of the glued components come apart with a $10 heat gun no problem to separate them for recycling.

      I'm confused how being able to take it apart with a screwdriver to recycle is significantly better or worse than taking it apart with a heat gun, particularly if the glued method means the product uses less materials in the first place.

  • I was looking at the stories on TUAW about this a few days ago when the dropping out of EPEAT was announced, and it amused me greatly that the vast majority of commentors were coming out about the futility of recycling and how forward thinking Apple was to ditch overblown environmental concerns in favor of design.

  • by Khyber (864651)

    "Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world"

    My Kill-A-Watt would like to have a word with you, as I have several computers that run much faster than your crap and don't consume nearly as much power.

A penny saved is a penny to squander. -- Ambrose Bierce

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