updated 03:09 pm EDT, Fri July 13, 2012
Mansfield admits withdrawal 'was a mistake'
Apple has reversed course on an earlier decision and put all qualifying products back on a list of products certified to the EPEAT environmental standard. The decision was announced today through an open letter by Bob Mansfield, Apple's soon-to-be-retired senior VP of hardware engineering. "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," the message begins.
Mansfield claims that the company's commitment to the environment has "never changed," and is "as strong as ever." He moreover argues that Apple products are "the most environmentally responsible products" in the industry, often in areas not covered by EPEAT. "For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)," he goes on. "We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.
"Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim."
Mansfield suggests that the IEEE 1680.1 standard would be a "much stronger force for protecting the environment if it were upgraded to include advancements like these," and notes that the EPEAT standard is actually based on it.
"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," the VP concludes. "Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use."
In practice, Apple's decision was likely spurred by the prospect of losing orders with a number of businesses and government organizations. The city of San Francisco was the first party to withdraw, and it recently emerged that US federal agencies might follow suit. In recent years Macs have become increasingly popular in enterprise scenarios, something pulling out of EPEAT could have reversed.