New EPEAT Criteria Frequently Asked Questions
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What Are the New Criteria?
EPEAT is developing a new set of criteria based on the latest science of how technology impacts people and the environment. Unlike its current criteria, which were developed through partnerships with organizations such as NSF and IEEE, these criteria will be created and owned by the Global Electronics Council and EPEAT. As such, they will provide a single set of criteria that will apply to all EPEAT electronics product categories, including computers and displays, imaging equipment, servers, TVs, and mobile phones.
All criteria will be grouped into four Sustainability Impact Modules, which cover issues that science and experts have determined to be key priorities. They will be developed by an impartial cross-section of stakeholders, including large and small manufacturers, scientific experts, sustainability advocacy organizations and purchasers.
Why Is EPEAT Launching New Criteria?
The definition of sustainability is rapidly evolving, and that’s a good thing. The more we understand the world’s crises, the better suited we are to address them. Sustainability goes far beyond controlling pollution to cover issues such as hunger, gender equity, and clean energy. The more we understand, the better our solutions.
The Global Electronics Council (GEC) plays a role in this global challenge by managing EPEAT, the world’s leading ecolabel for electronics. EPEAT focuses on the intersection between sustainability and another field that constantly evolves: Technology.
As the premium ecolabel for electronics, EPEAT needs to evolve as fast as the fields we serve. That means we need our criteria to be comprehensive and adaptable to address the world’s most critical issues while keeping up with both today’s and tomorrow’s technological innovations.
What Do These Criteria Measure?
The EPEAT criteria will be categorized into four areas, called Sustainability Impact Modules, designed to create the greatest impacts:
We will address impacts on the environment such as carbon footprint and energy efficiency.
Sustainable Use of Resouces
We will identify how products are designed for reuse and recycling, and which ones responsibly address packaging, water and waste.
Chemicals of Concern
We will assess the use of toxic chemicals that are hazards to health and the environment.
We will address impacts on labor health and safety, sourcing, social equity, and corporations’ environmental management systems.
Who Is Developing These Criteria?
Unlike its current criteria, which were developed through partnerships with organizations such as NSF and IEEE, these criteria will be created and owned by the Global Electronics Council and EPEAT. They will be developed by an impartial cross-section of stakeholders, including large and small manufacturers, scientific experts, sustainability advocacy organizations and purchasers.
When Will the New Criteria Be Launched?
We currently plan to integrate the new criteria in the EPEAT registry in late 2024.
How Will This Affect Purchasers?
EPEAT can launch new product categories faster and more efficiently, giving major purchasers even more choices in what they can buy.
The updates will include more focus issues of growing concern such as climate change and social equity. Requiring EPEAT is also the easiest way to fulfill regulations that require sustainable procurement of electronics. For those with corporate ESG requirements, net zero or 2030 goals, we also provide free calculations that measure the impacts of buying more sustainable EPEAT-registered IT products.
How Will This Affect Electronics Brands?
For electronics brands, the new criteria provide a better way to win business by satisfying the growing demand for sustainable products. Customers are savvy enough to see through promises of sustainability and need to trust that a brand will deliver on those promises. EPEAT helps secure that trust by providing an impartial third-party validation that products have been measured against the most advanced requirements and deemed to have the most positive impacts.
Immediate opportunities are available through major purchasers, such as the U.S. Federal government, that require EPEAT in contracts valued at up to $2.2 billion USD. Opportunities for major business exist today for those brands who are committed to proving their sustainability.
The new criteria will also streamline the processes for registering EPEAT products, so brands can follow the same process for different product lines as well as for new technologies.
Will Manufacturers Need To Go Through the Registration Process Again for Products Already Registered With EPEAT?
Yes. We will try to make this process as smooth as possible. There will also be an overlap period where the old and new criteria will both be recognized, giving participating manufacturers more time to prepare for the transition.
Currently, we work in partnership with our participating manufacturers to solicit feedback and provide transparency about the process, and we will inform participating manufacturers of developments as they happen.
Do Purchasers Need To Change the Language in Their RFPs and Contracts?
Possibly. Purchasers should work with EPEAT to ensure that the EPEAT tiers (Gold, Silver, Bronze) under the new criteria match up with their expectations and needs for procurement. We will inform purchasers how the new tiers will be structured as soon as we have more information.