Apple risks losing business after abandoning green program

Posted by Emma Woollacott

Apple's decision to pull out of an environmental certification initiative may cost it millions in sales.

The company's asked the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) to remove a number of products from its approved list, despite the fact that they've already been cleared.

To qualify, products need to be easy to take apart for recycling, with toxic components such as batteries kept separate. But according to EPEAT Apple now says its design plans won't allow for this.

"Apple has notified EPEAT that it is withdrawing its products from the EPEAT registry and will no longer be submitting its products to EPEAT for environmental rating," it says.

"We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT.  We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future."

But the move may cost it dear. San Francisco has already said it won't buy Apple products any more as a result fo the decision. Other organisations, including the state of Massachusetts, Ford and Yale and Cornell Universities also use the EPEAT standards to make purchasing decisions, and may well follow suit. The government, too, requires 95 percent of its purchases to be EPEAT-registered.

Apple has until now been a vocal supporter of the EPEAT standards. However, some of its newer products, including the MacBook Pro and its Retina display, are difficult to dismantle and recycle. Indeed, in a teardown, iFixit described the laptop as 'the least repairable laptop we've taken apart'.

Apple, of course, is still claiming that its products are environmentally friendly, and is hyping the Energy Star rating instead.