Apple reverses course, agrees to list products in government's environmental ratings

In just a few short days, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) reversed its position on a government program that lists environmentally friendly products, agreeing to add its products back to the list.

"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," wrote Bob Mansfield, the senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple, on the company's website.

"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," wrote EPEAT CEO Robert Frisbee on the company's website. "Our relationship with Apple is based on our natural alignment--as Apple drives innovation in product design, EPEAT drives innovation in standards design."

News broke earlier this week that Apple had removed its products from EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), which lists products that the government deems as green. EPEAT describes itself as the "definitive global registry for greener electronics."

"Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government, Energy Star 5.2," Apple representative Kristin Huguet told The Loop on Tuesday, in explaining why Apple removed its products from the registry. "We also lead the industry by reporting each product's greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials."

The backlash to Apple's action was swift. According to a Wall Street Journal article, San Francisco officials said earlier this week they were planning to block the government purchase of Apple products due to the situation.

In his mea culpa, Apple's Mansfield explained that Apple's products are environmentally friendly, and the company's "relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience."

The situation is not the first time that Apple has been caught up in controversy. Recently the company has worked to address concerns about the working conditions in the Chinese factories where its products are built.

For more:
- see this Apple page
- see these two Wall Street Journal articles
- see this Loop article

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