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October 15, 2012

Buzzkill: Apple Notebook Passes EPEAT Verification Process



Portland, Oregon-based EPEAT—which ranks electronic products based on a rigorous set of environmental performance criteria—has tested five ultra-thin notebooks and found them to be in conformity with its standards.

The verification process was set in motion last July after Apple (News - Alert) unexpectedly pulled its products from the certification registry—and then reinstated them days later, amidst industry buzz that its MacBook Pro with Retina Display, introduced in June, would not pass muster. 



Image via Shutterstock

In its latest review, EPEAT looked at products from Apple, Lenovo, Samsung (News - Alert) and Toshiba, but the analysts have not specified which models were examined or confirmed that the MacBook Pro with Retina Display was among them. However, on its own environmental site, Apple claims that the “15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display achieved a Gold rating from EPEAT in the United States and Canada.”

Specific areas of concern addressed included whether products could be upgraded, if tools were commonly available to accomplish upgrades; and whether materials of concern, including batteries, could be removed easily from ultrathin products.  

"[We are] committed to foster greener electronics and to give purchasers the tools to evaluate green claims," said Robert Frisbee, CEO of EPEAT. "The system's rigorous environmental assessment processes result from a powerful stakeholder collaboration that includes purchasers, government, manufacturers, recyclers and academic participants. This latest series of stringent investigations demonstrates the power of that approach."

To ensure the integrity of the registry, EPEAT undertook a number of fundamental inquiries. These included:

  • A request for formal clarification of the standard requirements from the independent Product Verification Committee (PVC)—a group of experts on electronics and environmental issues who provide interpretation of conformity requirements and rule on verification findings
  • A comprehensive review of publicly available technical information for notebook products in the EPEAT registry
  • An independent verification investigation for those products where public information did not resolve questions of potential nonconformance.

For the verification investigation, EPEAT contracted with a technical test lab to independently purchase these devices on the open market, and disassemble them according to the instructions provided.

Following their disassembly investigation, the test lab recommended that all the products be found to satisfy EPEAT requirements. After reviewing the data and recommendations provided by the lab, the PVC found all investigated products to be in conformance with EPEAT criteria, clearing the way for all the products investigated to remain on the EPEAT registry.

EPEAT stated, “The information garnered through these investigations will help stakeholders currently engaged in updating the PC/Display standard to ensure that the criteria address the market direction and design innovations leading toward thinner, lighter products.”




Edited by Brooke Neuman

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