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Summary:

Following an outcry from environmentalists and customers, Apple is reversing its decision to walk away from EPEAT certification for its computers. On Friday, outgoing SVP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield posted a letter on Apple’s website calling the move “a mistake.”

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This post was updated at 11:50 a.m. on Friday to clarify that the new Retina MacBook Pro was just given EPEAT certification.

Following an outcry from environmentalists and customers, Apple is reversing its decision to walk away from EPEAT certification for its computers. On Friday, outgoing SVP of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield posted a letter on Apple’s website calling the move “a mistake.”

“We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT,” Mansfield wrote.

Over the weekend news began to spread that Apple had asked the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, which is used to rate the environmental impact of electronics, to drop Apple’s computers and monitors from their rankings. The head of EPEAT said it heard from Apple that the rankings clashed with some of Apple’s future “design directions.”

Shortly thereafter, the City of San Francisco said it would remind employees that only EPEAT-certified computers could be be bought with city funds.

Forty Macs and monitors have EPEAT certification, including the new Macbook Pro with Retina display, which appeared in the EPEAT registry on Friday.

Though it wasn’t news that policies governing public agencies and schools mostly prevented them from buying non-EPEAT computers, it’s clear that Apple didn’t anticipate the potential impact or the  backlash from its customers or the public.

Mansfield added that “Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.” Mansfield is retiring from his position at some point in the near future, Apple announced earlier this year.

  1. Kawika Holbrook Friday, July 13, 2012

    EPEAT has also posted a letter to its website, http://www.epeat.net/, about Apple’s decision to return: “We look forward to Apple’s strong and creative thoughts on ongoing standards development. The outcome must reward new directions for both design and sustainability, simultaneously supporting the environment and the market for all manufacturers’ elegant and high-performance products.”

    Seems like that may be the bigger story: helping standards keep up with innovation.

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  2. No surprise here.

    Apple tried to undermine the certification by abandoning it and they failed. Now, they’re working to see the standard changed to suit instead.

    Different tactic, same result…

    The continued protection of Apple’s enviable profit margins and inventory turnover by way of glued together, unservicable gadgets with 12 month refresh cycles.

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  3. So are they recalling all the new Macbooks that have their batteries glued to the case?

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    1. Actually, if you check Apple’s tech specs page for the new MacBook Pro, it is already rated EPEAT Gold.

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  4. I really don’t think Apple rashly pulled its products from EPEAT and then backpedaled due to public opinion. It isn’t Apple’s style to take rash action or to give a f**k about taking a little PR heat.

    Here’s an alternate theory. Apple became frustrated with EPEAT because the standard wasn’t adapting to give Apple credit for many of its environmental practices. So, Apple pulled its products. This brought EPEAT back to the table and Apple backed off.

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  5. FYI

    Federal Lawsuit Regarding Bloom Energy

    http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2012/06/21/884-May-Be-Bloom-Energys-Fatal-Number-Fuel-Cell-Efficiency-Federal-State-Tax-Credits

    “Buried deep in the permit application, in Table 1 on page 161 of a 163-page application, was the number 884. On that page, under penalty of perjury, Bloom officially told the world that its energy servers emit 884 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour.”

    Also buried on page 161 of the permit application is a Table 2 notation that says these 235 “clean” servers would emit 22.56 pounds of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) per day. But Delaware, like other states, regulates VOC emissions at far lower levels (Maryland, for instance, regulates boat repair shops that emit more than 15 pounds per day). Moreover, if the same amount of power had been generated by combined cycle gas turbines, only 0.249 pounds of VOCs would be emitted daily. That’s 90 times less pollution!

    To top it off, because of the Bloom servers’ low efficiency and high capital cost, Delaware citizens will pay Bloom over $200 per megawatt hour of power delivered to their electricity transmission grid. But in January 2012, the U.S. Energy Information Agency said the projected “levelized” cost of electricity over the next 30 years from advanced gas-fired combined cycle power stations is $65.50 per MWH.

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