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Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool

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The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) is a method for consumers to evaluate the effect of a product on the environment. It is assessing lifecycle environmental standards and ranks products as gold, silver or bronze based on a set of environmental performance criteria.[1]

It is managed by the Green Electronics Council, itself a programme of the International Sustainability Development Foundation (ISDF) which ‘envisions a world where commerce, communities and nature thrive in harmony’. To qualify products to the IEEE 1680 family of ‘green electronics’ standards and identify products as EPEAT Bronze, Silver or Gold the organisation has signed an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) with a group of technical and environmental assessment organisations.

The Council evaluates computing equipment on 51 criteria - 23 required and 28 optional — that measure a product's efficiency and sustainability attributes. Products are rated Gold, Silver, or Bronze, depending on how many optional criteria they meet. On January 24, 2007, President George W. Bush issued Executive Order 13423, which requires all United States Federal agencies to use EPEAT when purchasing computer systems.[2][3]

In January 2010, Amazon.com has begun to use EPEAT to identify greener electronic products on its website.[4] In April 2011, their draft environmental standards was sent to the general membership of the IEEE Standards Association for review and voting,[5] which is still in balloting process.[6]

The international expert organization Dekra provides a network of local EPEAT experts in Europe, China, and South America to help in training electronics manufacturers and suppliers, purchasers and other interested parties since May 2011.[7]

Apple's Retina MacBook Pro Controversy Edit

In 2012, EPEAT gave the gold standard to Apple's Retina MacBook Pro, despite Apple initially removing its products from EPEAT listing. [1][8] The laptop was accepted following a number of "clarifications" of the standard, for example specifying that the presence of USB ports was now considered sufficient to meet the upgradability requirement, and that tools to disassemble the laptop need only be available for purchase by the public.[2][www.epeat.net/verification-clarifications#clarification14-1] iFixit.org labelled the laptop as "the least repairable, least recyclable computer [...] encountered in more than a decade of disassembling electronics"[9] and joined Greenpeace in denouncing a suspected case of greenwashing.

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