Wednesday, 24 June 2009

EPEAT vote of confidence

As you will know by now if you're a regular reader, the EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) programme evaluates computer desktops, laptops, and monitors based on 51 environmental criteria developed by stakeholder consensus and supported by the US EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).

Anyway, EPEAT has received recognition in a ruling by the National Advertising Division (NAD) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (a North American organisation that promotes integrity and performance in business).

The support came from a ruling on a Dell objection to Apple advertising its MacBooks as “the world’s greenest family of notebooks,”. (I'm not sure of the details of the objection, but I assume that Apple's claim was based on EPEAT certification).

In its ruling NAD suggested some adjustments to Apple’s advertising, but took no issue with EPEAT. In fact it found that:

- EPEAT was clearly an industry accepted measure of environmental performance

- EPEAT’s ratings provided a good comparison of the environmental friendliness of products

- Companies whose products receive higher ratings in EPEAT should be able to communicate those ratings, and the environmental improvement they denote, to consumers.

So EPEAT gets a vote of confidence, but it does show how cutthroat the market has become in making rival claims about how green products are. It's not about greenwashing, its about how you assess how environmentally friendly products are. (And who does the assessment - if you asked Greenpeace then they would all be as bad as each other, but that's another story).

© The Green IT Review

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