Apple has informed the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) that it will withdraw its products from the EPEAT registry, the American body that certifies the degree of environmental friendliness of electronic products, and in the future will no longer present additional devices to be included in the same. The decision was surprising considering not only that Apple has long used the EPEAT brand in its marketing communications, but also the fact that Cupertino was one of the companies that most contributed to the birth of the standard and has a delegation on the board of the body, comes from EPEAT itself.
Apple, asked by some American media, did not provide any explanation on the reasons for the decision, simply referring to the section of its site where the environmental benefits of its products are explained, but Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT provides some clues, when he says to have received communication from the top management of the company that the direction given to the design of the products is no longer compatible with the standards required by the body for their certification. What this means, easily understood by taking a look at the assembly of the MacBook Retina; the new computer practically inaccessible from the assembly point of view with its special screws, glued battery, LCD panel and cover cast in one piece. All this incompatible with the EPEAT rules which requires that a product can be dismantled with common tools, this to allow the disposal of toxic elements separately from those that are recoverable.
The MacBook Pro Retina, according to MacFixIt "the least repairable product of all time in the Mac environment", precisely for this reason, has not been subjected to EPEAT certification, and it is likely that in an attempt to create thinner and lighter products the trend will continue also for future products preventing them from receiving the "stamp" of the American body. As if to say that between staying adhering to EPEAT standards with its products and having the freedom to design them in a way that gives weight and style, Apple has chosen this second path.
Apple's decision, as well as some negative returns from the point of view of relations with environmental associations, could also have some feedback on the presence of some market niches. In the United States, for example, the Federal Government buys 95% of IT products only from EPEAT certified products; 222 out of 300 American universities ask their purchasing departments to favor EPEAT products, 70 buy only EPEAT products. Even some large US companies only buy products with the body's certification. This means that it will be more complicated for Macs and accessories to find the way to end up in educational institutions and government agencies, but as Shaw Wu points out in the Wall Street Journal, Apple now derives a huge part of its turnover from iPhone and iPad, that have never been EPEAT certified; in addition, the machines created by Cupertino have a large international market that minimizes the impact of non-purchase by American institutions.
One of the hypotheses currently on the table that Apple is preparing a new standard similar to EPEAT but able to consider products with an abundance of inaccessible glues and chassis. But in any case for now Apple remains out of EPEAT where it had 39 between computers and monitors and the American body now much weaker, given the weight of Apple: they were a very supporter of our activity – says Frisbee – and we are really very sorry that they no longer want to measure their products with our standards