We reported earlier in January about the on-going success of EPEAT, the green electronics rating system, and the fact that it had tightened up of its registration process. Now, though, it has made another breakthrough with the announcement that Amazon.com has begun to use EPEAT to identify greener electronic products on its website.
It means that the 51 environmental criteria that the three EPEAT ratings (Bronze, Silver and Gold) are based on can be an element of IT product selection in Amazon. EPEAT has ratings for more than 800 environmentally preferable IT products.
To date EPEAT has had most success in the business-to-business sector, mainly because it is a purchasing requirement for US Federal Agencies and is being adopted as a standard by other governments around the world. In the consumer world it has been mostly restricted to the IT companies themselves promoting the ratings of their products on their own web sites, so this is a significant break through. The value will increase as EPEAT expands into consumer products over the next year.
It’s a great move, but currently restricted to Amazon.com in the US, and not yet adopted by local Amazon sites such as Amazon.co.uk. That may be because EPEAT only created an international registry in August last year (covering 40 countries) so as yet products may be limited. Lets hope it expands soon.
My other concern is that, having just looked at the web site, it’s not that user friendly. To find EPEAT-registered products you have to scroll down to the ‘green’ menu item on the first electronics page to find a link to products within the three registration levels. Individual products are marked as EPEAT-registered, but not whether they are Bronze, Silver or Gold. It would be much better to have all the information, and its meaning, was available to those who are just browsing. But it’s a start.