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Apple returns to EPEAT environmental impact rating group: 'I recognize that this was a mistake'

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Apple returns to EPEAT environmental certification program

MacBook Pro with Retina Display stock
MacBook Pro with Retina Display stock

Apple has announced today that it will again begin to use the EPEAT green certification program, reversing a decision to remove the labels barely a week ago on July 6th. That day, the EPEAT said that Apple had decided to remove the label from its products for vague reasons related to its "design direction."

Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Bob Mansfield (who recently announced that he was retiring) said in a letter on Apple's website that he recognized that the decision to remove the certification from the company's 39 products was a "mistake," and that "many loyal customers" were disappointed with the move. The EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) is a method for consumers can use to evaluate the impact of a given product on the environment, and is managed by the Green Electronics Council.

According to Mansfield:

It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever. Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.

Mansfield goes on to specify that Apple is the only company to report greenhouse gas emissions for each product, and that each of its products exceeds the government-standard Energy Star 5.2 rating. "No one else in our industry can make that claim," says Mansfield. Apple seems to be implying with this statement that it pulled out of the EPEAT certification program at least in part because its own standards are actually higher than the agency's, though Mansfield doesn't come out and actually say so. Regardless, it is a rare instance of Apple quickly reversing a seemingly unpopular change of course. The change is in effect as of today.