Target: Kent Snyder, EPEAT Chairman
Goal: Require that all electronic technology is held to the same standards of approval to ensure legitimate environmental ranking
After awarding Apple’s Retina MacBook Pro with a Gold Certification, it is believed that EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is diluting its previously harsh standards to satisfy major companies. After dropping out of contention for environmental certification, Apple announced in July that they would once again rejoin the registry. While this act is honorable, the problem is that there were no changes made to the product.
How can a computer that was earlier called the “least repairable, least recyclable computer” magically earn the highest in environmental ranking? If EPEAT continues to lower its standards, the ranking system – which is currently the only of its kind – will force itself to become obsolete.
EPEAT is the only registry of its kind and is used by the consumer to evaluate competitive products based on their environmental effects. The tool takes into account such things as a product’s longevity, upgradability, and recyclability; and is increasingly important in today’s sustainable society.
Earlier this year the Retina MacBook Pro failed to receive environmental certification, primarily because it is glued together making it entirely non-upgradable. However, just this week, after getting EPEAT to “reinterpret” their standards, the computer is now of Gold ranking. There is no doubt that Apple is a leader in computer, tablet, and Smartphone technology; and such a company has the potential to also be a pioneer in creating environmentally friendly products. When the opposite happens, and EPEAT essentially bows down to Apple’s superiority, no one benefits.
Ask that EPEAT uphold its standards of excellence for all electronics. A product’s environmental effect is important, and despite what Apple may believe, is something today’s consumer actually cares about. By staying true to their values, EPEAT has the opportunity to change the market and force producers to adapt to environmental needs.
Dear Mr. Snyder,
EPEAT is a vital tool; however unless proper and equal standards are maintained, I fear that it will lose its credibility. While perhaps changing its opinion for the better in terms of the importance of environmental certification, Apple made no physical changes to its products.
The Retina MacBook Pro specifically does not deserve to be EPEAT certified, let alone by the highest degree of excellence. When you let one company slide by, you open a pandora’s box of problems for all other companies involved and you discredit your own image. Your registry values the ideas of transparency and continuous improvement, yet lately your actions speak otherwise.
Please let this be a warning, for your own sake and future success. Now is the time to reevaluate what this registry was initially founded upon and work to maintain these goals throughout. All electronics need to be held at the same standard of approval, and they need to be held separate from their company’s image.
Apple is a major company, but for the benefit of our environment (which I must remind you, is priceless), this must not be an evaluation factor. EPEAT is unprecedented in the realm of environmental ranking and it can stay that way by maintaining a commitment to the environment.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Derek Purdy via Flickr