When it comes to checking companies on their green claims, particularly in the consumer electronics space, there are few outlets that are scrutinized more highly than EPEAT. Particularly after Apple's in-then-out episode earlier in the year, EPEAT's updates are being watched like a hawk. Not only to see who gets in, but also who drops out. Now, EPEAT's latest notes are out, and five new ultrathin laptops are on deck. Products from Apple, Lenovo, Samsung and Toshiba were investigated, and the short version is that all of them met the requirements of the criteria reviewed. Here's a bit about the specifics from EPEAT itself:
The findings released today are the culmination of a lengthy review of a number of specific criteria – and of a broad array of notebook products registered in the EPEAT system. Specific areas of concern addressed included whether products could be upgraded, if tools were commonly available to accomplish upgrades, and whether materials of concern including batteries could be easily removed from ultrathin products.
To ensure the integrity of the registry, EPEAT undertook a number of fundamental inquiries. These included:
• a request for formal clarification of the standard requirements from the independent Product Verification Committee (PVC) – a group of experts on electronics and environmental issues who provide interpretation of conformity requirements and rule on verification findings
• a comprehensive review of publicly available technical information for notebook products in the EPEAT registry.
• an independent verification investigation for those products where public information did not resolve questions of potential nonconformance.
For the verification investigation, EPEAT contracted with a technical test lab to independently purchase these devices on the open market, and disassemble them according to the instructions provided.
Following their disassembly investigation, the test lab recommended that all the products be found to satisfy EPEAT requirements. After reviewing the data and recommendations provided by the lab, the PVC found all investigated products to be in conformance with EPEAT criteria, clearing the way for all the products investigated to remain on the EPEAT registry. Additional details of the investigation may be found below.
The information garnered through these investigations will help stakeholders currently engaged in updating the PC/Display standard to ensure that the criteria address the market direction and design innovations leading toward thinner, lighter products.
A round of applause is surely in order, but it's also more likely that we'll continue to see shining reports like this now that the spotlight has been placed firmly on the results.