San Francisco says no EPEAT certification, no Apple purchases

By Lee Kaelin on

The 28,000 employees that make up the 50 departments of San Francisco’s city services will no longer be able to use city funds to purchase Apple displays, desktops and notebooks, following news that the California company had withdrawn its products from the EPEAT registry, used to track the environmental impact of electronics.

That is according to San Francisco’s chief information officer, John Walton, when speaking to the Telegraph. He said the purchase of Apple computers amounts to around $45,000 of the $200 million IT budget. “I’m just hopeful that we can have a dialog with Apple so we can continue to work with them.” The decision won’t affect the purchase of iPhones and iPads as they aren’t subject to EPEAT criteria.

The move could have a broader impact on Apple in the government and university sectors as they rely on the EPEAT registry when making purchases. According to Bill Allison, head of campus technology services at the Berkeley campus, the University of California, the largest US public higher-education system is also considering whether to suspend Apple computer purchases because of the change.

“When something like this happens, it’s a significant change in the landscape,” said Allison. He added that the school will take two weeks to work with the retailer as well as administrators in the university system before a decision is made on how to proceed. “We’re reviewing the impact of this.”

Following EPEAT’s announcement Apple has taken steps to clarify its decision to remove its products from the registry, despite helping to create it several years ago. The Cupertino-based firm pointed out that it still conforms to many environmental standards including the governments Energy Star program.

“Apple 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,” Apple’s spokesperson Kristin Huguet said in a statement. “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.”

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