apple EPEAT

Officials met this Wednesday to decide a crucial matter; whether or not to purchase Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) computers?

It’s been hard for officials to come on terms as Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) last week announced it plans to withdraw from an environmental rating system. According to a government source, officials will be seek a meeting with Apple officials to resolve the issue.

Federal procurement decisions for year 2013 are being made now, so Fed officials are concerned that if they buy Apple products then government’s efforts to back environmentally friendly products will receive a setback.  Also, it will give a chance to competitors to ask for the same treatment.

The main culprit here in question is EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), which Apple refuses to comply with. EPEAT is an environmental certification program run by the Green Electronics Council, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit. This system monitors the impact of a computer on the environment throughout its lifecycle. The program is already used by governments, universities, health care and other large institutions like Ford, Yale University and the White House according to the organization’s website.

Acting on Apple’s decision, the city of San Francisco has already decided against purchasing some of Apple products like laptops and desktops, but excluding iPad and iPhone. “We like to buy Apple products but it puts us in a quandary that they are not participating in the EPEAT registry,” says John Walton, San Francisco’s chief information officer.

According to a statement on EPEAT website, the Green Electronics Council regrets Apple decision not to register it products, “EPEAT is more than simply a product rating — it is also a community effort by all interested stakeholders to define and maintain best practice in environmental sustainability for electronics.”

Giving clarifications for its move, Apple Inc. states that it “takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2. 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.”

Despite  the clarification, the main reason for withdrawal from EPEAT appears to be due to the new MacBook Pro with Retina display, which does not meet EPEAT disassembly criteria. This is because the glass display is fused with the top of the case, while the battery is glued to the bottom. Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT told the CIO Report “If the battery is glued to the case it means you can’t recycle the case and you can’t recycle the battery.”