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Apple rejoins EPEAT green tech cert program

Says the standards weren't strict enough for it

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Mere days after the City of San Francisco announced that it would ban departmental purchases of Apple products over environmental concerns, Cupertino has reversed its decision to withdraw from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) green standards program.

"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," writes Bob Mansfield, Apple's senior veep of hardware engineering, in an unusual display of humility for the fruity firm.

In his letter, Mansfield insists that Apple has always manufactured its products in an environmentally responsible way and that it didn't quit EPEAT to skirt the standards.

On the contrary, he writes, Apple would like to see the existing EPEAT standards strengthened to include more of the environmental protection practices Cupertino uses in its manufacturing today, such as reducing energy consumption and molding parts from less-toxic plastics.

"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 writes.

Following Apple's announcement, EPEAT wasted no time in reinstating the company's products in its rolls.

"I am very happy to announce that all of Apple's previously registered products, and a number of new products, are back on the EPEAT registry," EPEAT head Robert Frisbee said in a statement on the organization's homepage.

City of San Francisco officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but Melanie Nutter, director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment, posted a brief statement saying that the department "is pleased to learn that Apple is rejoining EPEAT."

Other officials will doubtless be pleased, as well. Many governmental bodies require EPEAT certification for IT purchases, including the US Department of Defense, NASA, Homeland Security, and the governments of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. ®

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