EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) the green electronics rating system, has announced plans to expand through collaboration with international standards and testing organisations.
EPEAT comes from the Green Electronics Council in the US and is the leader in assessing lifecycle environmental standards. The programme evaluates computer desktops, laptops and monitors on 51 environmental criteria and awards EPEAT Bronze, Silver or Gold certification. EPEAT now covers 41 countries, 45 participating manufacturers and more than 3,200 environmentally preferable electronic products.
To meet the growing demand for EPEAT registration, the organisation will engage with a network of environmental and technical certification, testing and standards groups around the world to qualify products to the IEEE 1680 family of ‘green electronics’ standards and identify products as EPEAT Bronze, Silver or Gold.
To achieve this the organisation has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a group of technical and environmental assessment organisations. The idea is to offer participating manufacturers choice of where they go for certification while maintaining credibility and consistency of the EPEAT registry. Additional groups are expected to join the network, but at the moment the organisations signed up are:
• Intertek (global testing and certification organisation - US)
• Environment and Development Foundation (environmental certification/labelling organisation - Taiwan)
• VDE Testing and Certification Institute (international testing and certification body - Germany)
• China Electronic Standardisation Institute (standards and certification body - China)
• China Environmental United Certification Centre (certification and eco-labelling body - China)
• Industrial Technology Research Institute/Beautiful Life Education Foundation (certification and testing organisation, environmental foundation partnership - Taiwan).
EPEAT is looking to the collaboration to broaden the support services available to manufacturers by language, regional base and verification method, while close central collaboration will maintain consistency and quality assurance. Jeff Omelchuck, EPEAT’s Executive Director said that; “(the collaboration) .. opens the system to multiple participants who will work with us to broaden and strengthen the registration services available to manufacturers worldwide.”
This sounds like a very good move. EPEAT had already significantly expanded the certification to international products, i.e. product models available outside the US. This move makes it truly international, which should give the ratings system more global credibility.
It’s important to make standards universal, rather than having lots of competing national and international systems that cloud the water and confuse potential purchasers. One standard green IT certification for PCs, administered by different organisations internationally, fits the bill and EPEAT seems to be heading in the right direction.