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7/13/2012
05:50 PM
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Apple Relents, Rejoins EPEAT

In an open letter, an Apple executive admits their mistake and re-pledges the company's commitment to environmental responsibility. The letter does not address changes Apple is making to products, like the new MacBook Pro, that impede repairability and recyclability.

To calm a storm of bad publicity Apple has reversed its decision to leave EPEAT, an industry-government partnership which promotes environmentally-responsible electronics.

The initial decision forced some buyers to act, as their policies required EPEAT certification to qualify. The City of Sam Francisco announced plans to block procurement of Apple products that didn't qualify, a move which was widely reported.

In an open letter, Bob Mansfield, Apple's Senior vice President of Hardware Engineering, calls the decision to remove their products from the EPEAT rating system a mistake and reverses that decision.

The rest of the letter reaffirms Apple's commitment to protecting the environment and lists many of their achievements in that area.

A separate letter from Robert Frisbee, EPEAT CEO, on the organization's home page, thanks Apple for their decision.

Neither letter discusses the disposition of new Apple products, such as the new MacBook Pro, which use materials and manufacturing techniques which impair the ability to disassemble the products, and therefore either repair or recycle them.

Mansfield's letter does say "...all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT." But it also argues for changing the IEEE 1680.1 standard, on which EPEAT's ratings are based, to account for other Apple features, such as high energy efficiency. Such changes might compensate for the hit products like the new MacBook Pro will take when EPEAT judges them for "Design for end of life" and, perhaps, on "material selection."

We have submitted questions to Apple about this matter and will update the story with any responses we receive.

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