The Green Electronics Council yesterday went international with a registry that shows how computers and monitors measure up when it comes to being Earth-friendly.
The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) registry, which gives green ratings to computer desktops, laptops and monitors, has been localized for 40 countries.
“It is an exciting development,” EPEAT executive director Jeff Omelchuck said. “It is driven by a global demand for a system to evaluate these products.”
EPEAT was launched in the US in 2006 with corporations and other large IT purchasers in mind, but the registry is available for anyone to consult online for free at epeat.net.
The registry is now localized to specified countries.
“Before you might fall in love with a laptop on the registry only to find out it is not available in your country,” Omelchuck said. “Now, registries show products available in your country and environmental characteristics particular to your country.”
Registries unveiled yesterday were customized for places including Canada, Europe, China, Japan, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, Brazil and Mexico.
Electronics makers and other interested parties establish EPEAT criteria used to rate computers, with bronze, silver and gold being the top rankings in succession.
“This is like cats and dogs playing together,” Omelchuck quipped, referring to manufacturers, health groups, environmentalists, consumers, recyclers and others that collaborate to set EPEAT standards.
“Stakeholders that are often adversaries worked together for three years to define what a green PC is,” Omelchuck said.
EPEAT is seeing increased international participation in the green standards setting process.
An estimated US$60 billion in computer purchase contracts in the market specify products must be EPEAT registered, meaning that machines without winning green marks don’t qualify for that business.
The city of San Francisco mandates EPEAT’s top gold ranking for computers it purchases.
“It allows you to express your values with your purchase dollars,” Omelchuck said. “EPEAT has become quite a comprehensive resource with pretty impressive commercial demand for green IT.”
EPEAT standards factor in energy savings, production methods, toxic components, packaging, life spans and the ease with which electronics can be recycled.
“EPEAT is giving customers an easy way to see the impact of the products they are buying,” said Steve Hoffman, director of strategic marketing and sustainability initiatives at Hewlett-Packard (HP).
US computer giant HP lays claim to being the first IT company to ship a product with a gold ranking from EPEAT.
“Energy efficiency helps customers save money; carbon footprint takes customers to another level,” Hoffman said. “We are seeing companies looking at ways to meet their IT requirements in the most environmentally responsible way they can.”
EPEAT gold rankings have been earned by the bulk of the roughly 120,000 computers and monitors reportedly bought annually by US health maintenance organization Kaiser Permanente.
“We wanted to be purchasing environmentally superior products; a defined industry standard makes our job so much easier,” said Robert Gotto, senior director of medical sourcing at Kaiser. “The rate at which manufacturers are developing products to meet EPEAT standards has been very impressive.”
Kaiser has saved millions of dollars in electricity costs because of EPEAT stamped gear, while investing in equipment with fewer heavy metals and other life harming chemicals, Gotto said.
“It has been a massive environmental improvement for us and we’ve seen a cost savings as well,” Gotto said. “I presume Europe, Asia and other parts of the world will get the same benefits we have.”
EPEAT, which is overseen by the non-profit Green Council, was started with a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency, but is now supported by fees manufacturers pay to register products.
FORCED LABOR: Customs officials have seized a 11.8 tonne shipment of products made from human hair on suspicion they were produced by people facing human rights abuses Federal authorities in New York City on Wednesday seized a shipment of weaves and other beauty accessories suspected to be made out of human hair taken from people locked inside a Chinese internment camp. US Customs and Border Protection (CPB) officials said that 11.8 tonnes of hair products worth an estimated US$800,000 were in the shipment. “The production of these goods constitutes a very serious human rights violation, and the detention order is intended to send a clear and direct message to all entities seeking to do business with the United States that illicit and inhumane practices will not be tolerated in
JUST QUESTIONS: Expelled reporter Ai Kezhu said that every member of Southeast Television had complied with the law and had not appeared on any talk shows Two Chinese reporters yesterday left Taiwan after the government revoked their accreditation and ordered them to leave amid a probe into allegations that several Chinese media outlets have set up studios and produced political talk shows in Taiwan. The two reporters — Ai Kezhu (艾珂竹) and Lu Qiang (盧薔) — worked for Fujian Province-based Southeast Television and arrived in Taiwan in December last year. The Mainland Affairs Council has launched an investigation after local media reported that Chinese broadcasters — including China Central Television, Southeast Television and FJTV — had set up studios in Taipei and produced political talk shows. Council Deputy Minister
PROBE LAUNCHED: An officer who served as a supervisor in the drill died in an apparent suicide after the accident, which was caused by unexpected waves Two marines who were on Friday injured in a military exercise in the waters off Kaohsiung passed away yesterday, Navy Command said. The marines — surnamed Tsai (蔡), 26, and a sergeant surnamed Chen (陳), 36 — were in a seven-member Marine Corps team that encountered rough seas during a simulated response to enemy forces landing on Taiwan. Their rubber craft overturned in waters off Taoziyuan (桃子園) beach in Zuoying District (左營), injuring four of the marines. They were rushed to hospital, where three of them — Tsai, Chen and a 34-year-old sergeant — were taken to an intensive care unit
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how