It’s been a while since the green electronics rating organisation EPEAT first announced plans to expand by working with international standards and testing operations. But EPEAT has now announced that four organisations with global reputations for technical excellence will participate as trust providers in the EPEAT system.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT), from the Green Electronics Council in the US, is the green electronics rating system based on the IEEE 1680 family of Environmental Assessment 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.
The four new Product Registration Entities (PREs) are:
Dekra SE – The Swedish company’s focus is safety, quality and environmental protection services, including consulting, product testing and certification. Dekra operates in more than 50 countries, with over 27,000 employees.
Intertek - Provides quality and safety solutions for a range of industries around the world, from auditing and inspection to testing, quality assurance and certification. The company has a network of more than 1,000 laboratories and offices and over 33,000 people in more than 100 countries.
UL Environment – Offers a range of environmental services including product certifications, environmental product declarations, indoor air quality certification, product emissions testing, organisational sustainability certification, and consulting. Part of the US company UL, a global ‘safety science’ company.
VDE - Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik, Informationstechnik e.V. (VDE) is the Association for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies based in Germany. It operates the VDE Testing and Certification Institute, internationally active for over 90 years and accredited by multiple organizations worldwide.
These organisations will work directly with manufacturers to register products and verify their environmental attributes.
These organisations worked with EPEAT to flesh out the certification model that enables products to be registered against environmental performance criteria and monitored after registration. It’s the need to expand that certification and monitoring that has led to this collaboration. “Ramping up capacity through alliances with these superbly qualified organisations enables EPEAT to scale rapidly to meet demand for greener products around the globe, and supports the ongoing credibility of the EPEAT system,” said Robert Frisbee, EPEAT’s CEO.
Given the time it’s taken, and the fact that not all the organisations with whom EPEAT announced a Memorandum of Understanding almost 18 months ago are now included, I guess it hasn’t been an easy process getting these organisations on board. But then it was never going to be easy to ensure that products were assessed and monitored to EPEAT’s standards.
Hopefully, this expanded EPEAT will give an impetus to the international growth of the standard. I’ve not seen anything else as comprehensive, but perhaps the organisation could also do more promotion. Whilst EPEAT labels do often appear at the product point of sale, they’re not given much prominence or very clearly explained, as far as I can see. Some buyer education might be in order.