San Francisco to block Mac purchases following EPEAT pull-out
San Francisco officials have announced a suspension on the purchase of new Apple computers following the company’s withdrawal from the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) certification process, an environmental rating tool that “helps identify greener computers and other electronic equipment.”
The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple pulled out of the voluntary programme towards the end of June, which has prompted city officials to block the purchase of Apple computers by all city agencies. The journal reported that Apple withdrew “all 39 of its certified MacBooks and desktops,” a move which has confused many considering Apple’s role in founding the programme in 2005.
Chief executive of EPEAT, Robert Frisbee, told The Wall Street Journal that Apple’s “design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements,” and that Apple has failed to submit its latest MacBook for certification. Speculation suggests that this may be the fault of assembly decisions Apple have made with the new product, such as building the MacBook with components which cannot be recycled.
On its website, EPEAT describes itself as “the leading global environmental rating system for electronic products,” and professes to be “a community effort by all interested stakeholders to define and maintain best practice in environmental sustainability for electronics.”
It states: “We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT. We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future.”
City officials are aiming to inform around 50 San Francisco agencies that Apple computers can no longer be purchased with city funds, having told The Wall Street Journal that they are “moving to block purchases of Apple desktops and laptops, by all municipal agencies.” This move is a direct result of an instated policy that requires all computers bought with city money to be EPEAT-certified, and Apple products now fall short of this requirement.
Director of the San Francisco Environment Department, Melanie Nutter, said: “We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT and we hope that the city saying it will not buy Apple products will make Apple reconsider its participation.”
Although a giant player in the computer market, Apple should be careful in this ever-conscious age; many large organisations, including those unaffiliated with government policy, also abide by procurement policies which require certification from EPEAT or similar programmes, and the company could find itself losing out to more environmentally-friendly systems.