Apple acknowledges 'mistake,' places eligible products back on EPEAT

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Responding to public criticism, Apple on Friday announced that it made a "mistake," and has placed all eligible products back on the EPEAT green certified list.

The move was explained in a letter to customers published on the environmental section of Apple's website. Penned by Bob Mansfield, Apple's senior vice president of Hardware Engineering, the letter states that Apple's commitment to the environment "has never changed."

"Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve," Mansfield wrote. "Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use."

The controversy first began a week ago, when it was revealed that Apple had voluntarily pulled its products from a list maintained by the government-sponsored standard setting group EPEAT. The move meant that Apple's previous generation products, which were already EPEAT certified, were also taken off the list.

That prompted the city of San Francisco to announce this week that it would cease purchasing Apple products without EPEAT certification. Apple then publicly defended its decision to cease EPEAT certification by noting it takes a "comprehensive approach" to making environmentally responsible products.

EPEAT


Apple originally decided to remove a total of 39 desktops, laptops and monitors from the EPEAT list, because the organization's certification requires that a product must be easily disassembled with common tools to have toxic components, such as batteries, separated from recyclable materials. Over the years, Apple's products have become increasingly difficult to take apart, which is why the repair firm iFixit recently gave the new Retina display MacBook Pro a score of 1 out of 10 on its repairability scale.

The full letter from Mansfield to customers is included below:
We?ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.

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.

For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we?ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.

Perhaps most importantly, we make the most energy-efficient computers in the world and our entire product line exceeds the stringent ENERGY STAR 5.2 government standard. No one else in our industry can make that claim.

We think the IEEE 1680.1 standard could be a much stronger force for protecting the environment if it were upgraded to include advancements like these. This standard, on which the EPEAT rating system is based, is an important measuring stick for our industry and its products.

Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.

Bob
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 159
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,265member
    That's.....weird.
  • Reply 2 of 159


    It's the only logical move.


     


    If the freaking computer happens to meet the EPEAT whatever, then why not just leave it there.


     


    No Sweat !


    Easy Peasy !


     


    The whole planet pretends like the world is not worse off today than it was yesterday, and it will be worse off tomorrow, than it was today.


     


    Fewer resources every passing day.


    More pollution every passing day.


     


    This ONLY goes in One direction.

     

  • Reply 3 of 159

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by asdasd View Post



    That's.....weird.


    You can say that again.


     


    Is Mansfield taking the blame for this mistake? He is retiring after all.


     


    Was Apple's "about face" a result of the Federal Govt. announcing that it may not purchase products that are "not EPEAT."


     


    Somebody did not think this through.

  • Reply 4 of 159
    ktappektappe Posts: 759member


    Backpedal backpedal backpedal.....

     

  • Reply 5 of 159
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    BuffyzDead wrote: »
    It's the only logical move.

    If the freaking computer happens to meet the EPEAT whatever, then why not just leave it there.

    There move was strategic. Because future Macs will not meet the current EPEAT standards for certification it would look worse to have only their old machines with the high rating. It's unfortunate that Apple is bowing to the asshats and chuckleheads from the usual snowflake that has become an avalanche.
  • Reply 6 of 159


    Good move. Very good move.


     


    I don't really care how it looks. Sometimes backtracking is the best option.


     


    Kudos to Apple. Sneaky that they made Mansfield take the hit, since he's outgoing, but in corporate logic it was the obvious move.

     

  • Reply 7 of 159
    just_mejust_me Posts: 590member
    Glue vs screws
  • Reply 8 of 159
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    You can say that again.


     


    Is Mansfield taking the blame for this mistake? He is retiring after all.


     


    Was Apple's "about face" a result of the Federal Govt. announcing that it may not purchase products that are "not EPEAT."


     


    Somebody did not think this through.



     


    I haven't heard that the "Federal Govt." said anything of the sort.  


    Only San Fransisco (with an Apple related budget of *maybe* $45,000), said they wouldn't buy AFAIH. 


     


    I read this as the new guy making a bold step and Mansfield having to step back in and correct it.  

  • Reply 9 of 159
    mstonemstone Posts: 11,510member


    But the new MBP not being EPEAT certified due to glued battery is still a problem for them right?


     


    Seems like they could use a different glue that wasn't so strong and the battery could be detached more easily.

  • Reply 10 of 159

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


    You can say that again.


     


    Is Mansfield taking the blame for this mistake? He is retiring after all.


     


    Was Apple's "about face" a result of the Federal Govt. announcing that it may not purchase products that are "not EPEAT."


     


    Somebody did not think this through.



     


    The reaction was stronger than they imagined, if they gave it much thought to begin with. Even Gruber wasn't willing to burn his credibility defending them. After quoting Apple's original response:


     




    Apple would have been better served by issuing a statement like this before it turned into a controversy. And even here, Apple is not addressing the specific concern regarding the new MacBook Pro with Retina Display, which is recyclability.




     


    I am not sure that Mansfield is taking the blame, exactly. But he is the face of the backtrack, which makes sense. In any case, Tim Cook was obviously involved and he has shown quick reflexes, at least, though perhaps poor judgment allowing the original withdrawal, assuming he was directly involved (he should have been). Still, what matters is that they learn from this and improve.


     


    I am also going to take a wild guess that reaction inside Apple was probably significant as well.

  • Reply 11 of 159
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,049member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Alonso Perez View Post


    Sometimes backtracking is the best option.



    Except for what it signals. I think that the new management has the tendency to blink a tad too much.


     


    We'll see where this heads....

  • Reply 12 of 159

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I haven't heard that the "Federal Govt." said anything of the sort.  


    Only San Fransisco (with an Apple related budget of *maybe* $45,000), said they wouldn't buy AFAIH. 


     


    I read this as the new guy making a bold step and Mansfield having to step back in and correct it.  



     


    Other government bodies and institutions around the world had started making announcements that they would not buy the products or look into the issue within the next few days. There was a risk of a snowball.


     


    As to the responsibility, I have no idea where this came from and who proposed the backtrack. It sure is an interesting question though.

  • Reply 13 of 159
    enjournienjourni Posts: 254member


    Epic fail there Apple. It was pretty obvious they were going to have to rethink this, rather then lose all government sales. Someone seriously dropped the ball.

  • Reply 14 of 159
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,282member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I haven't heard that the "Federal Govt." said anything of the sort.  


    Only San Fransisco (with an Apple related budget of *maybe* $45,000), said they wouldn't buy AFAIH.



    http://www.macnn.com/articles/12/07/12/effects.of.epeat.withdrawal.begin.to.ripple/

  • Reply 15 of 159
    applegreenapplegreen Posts: 421member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


     


    I haven't heard that the "Federal Govt." said anything of the sort.  


    Only San Fransisco (with an Apple related budget of *maybe* $45,000), said they wouldn't buy AFAIH. 


     


    I read this as the new guy making a bold step and Mansfield having to step back in and correct it.  



     


    I saw this item on the Fed Govt. rethinking buying Apple products.


     


    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78442.html


     


    Mansfield has not left yet.  So, can't be just the new guy.  Besides others in senior mgmnt. must have approved this.  This is too big a decision.  That said, they must have weighed the pros and cons before deciding to cancel EPEAT.  Still, better to admit that it was a mistake and backtrack now instead of later.  The question is what are they going to do about future products?  Maybe they will work with EPEAT to change their certification standards.


     


    I wonder what Al Gore has to say about this.

  • Reply 16 of 159

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post


    Except for what it signals. I think that the new management has the tendency to blink a tad too much.


     


    We'll see where this heads....



     


    Huh? What does it signal? To me it signals intelligence.


     


    Macho, double-down management is for third-world autocrats and Hitler fans. Flexibility is much smarter, especially when addressing the concerns of an important subgroup of Apple customers.

  • Reply 17 of 159

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by AppleGreen View Post


     


    I saw this item on the Fed Govt. rethinking buying Apple products.


     


    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/78442.html


     


    Mansfield has not left yet.  So, can't be just the new guy.  Besides others in senior mgmnt. must have approved this.  This is too big a decision.  That said, they must have weighed the pros and cons before deciding to cancel EPEAT.  Still, better to admit that it was a mistake and backtrack now instead of later.  The question is what are they going to do about future products?  Maybe they will work with EPEAT to change their certification standards.


     


    I wonder what Al Gore has to say about this?



     


    I think Mansfield's note is highly suggestive that the tack they will take is to work with EPEAT. EPEAT is also interested in doing that, as was signaled by the new EPEAT CEO when he stated that the standard was "long in the tooth". This should have been their approach all along, but they got it, and they got it fast. That's good.

  • Reply 18 of 159


    According to the official material available from Apple, http://images.apple.com/environment/reports/docs/macbookpro_retinadisplay_per_june2012.pdf


    the Retina display Macbook Pro "Achieves a Gold rating from EPEAT"


     


    So, it appears that the initial withdrawal from EPEAT wasn't due to the rMBP. That's what it looks like at least.

  • Reply 19 of 159
    rogifanrogifan Posts: 10,669member
    applegreen wrote: »
    You can say that again.

    Is Mansfield taking the blame for this mistake? He is retiring after all.

    Was Apple's "about face" a result of the Federal Govt. announcing that it may not purchase products that are "not EPEAT."

    Somebody did not think this through.
    This is embarrassing and a bit worrysome as it shows Apple either Apple isnt thinking through decisions well enough or they can be bullied. I'm sure Greenpeace is taking note.

    Interesting that this reversal was announced by someone who is retiring and not Tim Cook or Jony Ive.
  • Reply 20 of 159
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,007member


    If you check the Retina MBP on Apple's website, http://www.apple.com/environment/reports/, it says it has Gold EPEAT. Of course, trying to search EPEAT's registry goes nowhere so I couldn't confirm this.

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