San Francisco Officials to Ban Apple Macs Over Green Credentials

San Francisco officials announced the plans to block purchases of Apple production, after the company removed a green electronics certification from its products.

Officials with the San Francisco Department of Environment will inform all 50 of the city’s agencies that Apple Macs “will no longer qualify” for purchase with city funds. Photo: Loris/Flickr

The city’s decision follows the reports claiming that the Cupertino-based company had removed its laptops and notebooks from a voluntary registry of green electronics, called EPEAT.

As The Wall Street Journal explains, EPEAT is the standard, “created jointly by manufacturers, including Apple, government agencies, and activist groups, requires that electronics products be designed for ease in recycling and higher energy efficiency”.

The company requested that all 39 of its MacBooks and desktops be removed from the registry late last month, reported EPEAT staffers. Apple declined to comment, referring inquiries to the environment section of the company’s website.

“We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT,” said Melanie Nutter, director of San Francisco’s Department of Environment, “and we hope that the city saying it will not buy Apple products will make Apple reconsider its participation.”

Apple’s move may have consequences as many universities and governments rely on the EPEAT registry when making purchasing decisions, writes The Telegraph.

The University of California, the largest US public higher-education system, is considering whether to suspend company’s computers purchases because of the Apple’s Apple’s plan to drop participation in the program.

“When something like this happens, it’s a significant change in the landscape,” said Bill Allison, head of campus technology services at the Berkeley campus.

Allison added that it’ll take the school two weeks to work with Apple and administrators in the university system to consider how to move forward. “We’re reviewing the impact of this.”

“Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact, and all of our products meet the strictest energy-efficiency standards backed by the US government,” said Kristin Huguet, a spokeswoman for Apple.

“We also lead the industry by reporting each product’s greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials.”

Apple’s withdrawal from the program may result in an updating of the environmental standard, which is already used for several years. EPEAT is predicted to become less effective in case manufacturing standards are changed to accommodate the thinner devices customers find popular.

“It may be that we need to help push vendors who like to act unilaterally when they can to work together to evolve the current standard,” Allison said.

A voluntary registry of green electronics was started in 2006 due to cooperation of technology companies, US government agencies and outside groups.

EPEAT was created in order to be a rating system for buyers of electronics to determine the environmental impact of products. Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Samsung are among the manufacturers that participate, reads the group’s website.

“We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT,” the group said on its website. “We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future.”

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