Apple Removes 'Green' EPEAT Label On Macs, Faces Backlash In San Francisco


Apple is reportedly removing 39 of its products from a government-issued list of environmentally friendly tech products, a move that has prompted the City of San Francisco to ax all spending on desktop and notebook PCs from the Cupertino-based company.

According to a report this week from CIO Journal, Apple has requested that the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool, an organization backed by the federal government that sets standards for environmentally safe electronics, remove 39 of its products from its list of approved devices. The products being pulled range from monitors to Mac desktops to the MacBook Pro and Air notebook lines.

Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT, said the organization was disappointed by Apple’s decision to remove its products from the registry.

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"They said their design direction was no longer consistent with the EPEAT requirements," Frisbee said in the CIO Journal report. "They were important supporters and we are disappointed that they don’t want their products measured by this standard anymore."

A separate report Tuesday from CIO Journal said the City of San Francisco is expressing its own disappointment with Apple’s decision to no longer comply with EPEAT standards by making a move to prohibit all Mac purchases within municipal agencies. San Francisco city officials are issuing letters to all 50 agencies over the next few weeks, asking them to refrain from using city funds to purchase Apple notebooks and desktops.

The letter being sent will reference a 2007 policy that requires city funds be used only to buy desktops, notebooks and monitors that have been certified by EPEAT.

The City of San Francisco may not be the only place where Mac purchases come to a halt because they lack EPEAT’s certification. Sarah O’Brien, director of outreach for EPEAT, told CIO Journal that many major corporations, including Ford and HSBS, restrict CIOs from purchasing any PCs that have not been EPEAT-certified. What’s more, the U.S. government requires 95 percent of all its tech purchases to be on EPEAT’s list.

EPEAT’s Frisbee said that Apple’s new MacBook Pro with Retina display was never submitted to EPEAT for certification, but doubted it would meet the required standards anyway. Its ultra-thin design, in which the notebook’s battery is glued to its case, makes it non-recyclable.

Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but told The Loop that ensuring its products are energy efficient and have minimal impact on the environment is still a top priority.

"Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the U.S. government, Energy Star 5.2," Apple spokeswoman Kristin Huguet wrote in an emailed 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."

NEXT: Partners React To Apple’s Decision