EPEAT Approval of Retina MacBook Pro Stirs Up Controversy



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As we have since the launch of the EPEAT registry six years ago, EPEAT continues to impartially apply and verify the standard.

A few observations on the recent Verification investigation (Round 2012-05) of multiple ultralight products from multiple manufacturers:

Regarding upgrade capability, the criteria specifically state that products may be upgraded or extended “by a high performance serial bus (IEEE Std 1394™ [B4]) or Universal Serial Bus (USB)”. Regardless of opinions about whether or not that is appropriate or acceptable language, the hard fact is that EPEAT has no authority to ‘flunk’ products if they meet the explicit terms of the standard.

Regarding disassembly: The criteria under discussion are located in the section of the standard that addresses Design for End of Life – that is, design for effective recycling. The criteria investigated are not aimed at refurbishment or repair. Again, people may think that there should be more in the standard about disassembly for repair and refurbishment – and we welcome their views – but these criteria do not apply to that topic.

The standard also doesn’t forbid specific construction methods such as fasteners versus adhesives – it just requires products to be easy to disassemble for recycling. The test lab went through the disassembly process and reported that the products were all easy to disassemble with commonly available tools.

But pursuing this debate over the details of one investigation is a distraction from the purpose and significance of the EPEAT system and what it has accomplished.

After the PC/Display registry was launched, it took a year for any products to meet the Gold rating requirements, because it was extremely challenging. Over time, the EPEAT PC/Display criteria have become more familiar and companies have designed them into their products and supply chain requirements. That’s a good thing. In fact the whole point of the EPEAT system is to drive change. Our goal is to create a new bottom line for environmental innovation that affects the whole global industry for the better.

New and very challenging Imaging Equipment and TV standards were just published and the PC/Display standards is slated for revision very soon in an open public process - join us in improving on an already powerful system!

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