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David Stegon was a staff reporter for FedScoop and StateScoop from 2011-2014.
Federal agencies will no longer be able to purchase most Apple computing products after the company removed its innovations off the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool registry. Popular products like the iPhone and iPad will still be available.
EPEAT certifies products that have reached a certain environmentally-friendly standard and has been mandatory for almost all electronic product acquisitions in the federal government since 2007.
Federal agencies require that 95 percent of all electronic product acquisitions meet EPEAT standards, unless a standard for a given product doesn’t exist as is the case with smartphones and tablets.
With that said, additions to the registry in coming years could hinder the federal government’s ability to purchase phones and tablets from Apple once standards are created.
“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, Energy Star 5.2,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Launched in 2006, EPEAT was developed in response to growing demand by institutional purchasers for an easy-to-use evaluation tool enabling them to compare electronic products based on environmental performance, in addition to cost and performance considerations.
Creation of EPEAT was guided by electronics manufacturers' expressed need for clear, consistent procurement criteria.
President Bush issued an executive order in January 2007 creating the government mandate.
Apple subsequently pulled all 39 of the products it had registered with EPEAT, the organization’s CEO Robert Frisbee told the Wall Street Journal.
One of Apple’s newest products, the MacBook Pro, with its high-resolution “Retina” screen, he said, would not have been eligible for certification.
The announcement has already had an impact on the state and local market.
The city of San Francisco said on Tuesday that it won’t purchase Apple products because of the announcement.
And, while not a major federal player, Apple has been gaining steam in the federal marketplace in recent years especially with innovations in the mobile market.
The Federal Aviation Administration is testing iPads for use by mechanics and attorneys; the Air Force signed a deal to purchase 18,000 iPads to handle documentation such as flight manuals and navigation charts; and the Department of Veterans Affairs has expanded a pilot program centered around iPads and iPhones.
Statement from EPEAT:
Apple has notified EPEAT that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating.
EPEAT is the leading global environmental rating system for electronic products, connecting purchasers to environmentally preferable choices and benefiting producers who demonstrate environmental responsibility and innovation.
For participating electronics manufacturers, EPEAT is a chance to showcase and validate their greener design initiatives, cleaner production and customer support services. But EPEAT is more than simply a product rating – it is also a community effort by all interested stakeholders to define and maintain best practice in environmental sustainability for electronics.
We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT. We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future.