Apple backs down: Macs will stay EPEAT certified

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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.

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