EPEAT Climate Criteria
Climate change is a global threat that demands urgent attention as it poses severe risks to our planet, societies, and economies. Its impending effects, such as extreme weather conditions, rising sea levels, and loss of biodiversity are likely to fuel future conflict and increase environmentally influenced health conditions. As the IPCC puts it: “There is a rapidly closing window of opportunity to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all.”
The EPEAT Climate Criteria offer a wide range of technology stakeholders the opportunity to bring visibility and action to the climate impacts of electronics. Manufacturers can gain marketplace recognition and establish themselves as leaders in low-climate impact manufacturing. Institutions can net impact reductions at scale through routine technology procurement when they buy electronics that meet the Climate Criteria. Investors can enhance these impacts by promoting the use of EPEAT and other eco-labels within their investment companies.
The primary contributor to climate change is the release of greenhouse gases (GHGs) into the atmosphere from the use of fossil fuels for electricity generation and other energy needs. The World Economic Forum (WEF) has identified the electronics industry as one of eight sectors accounting for more than 50% of global emissions.
The WEF also reports that the majority of GHG emissions from the electronics industry are attributed to the supply chain (77%). These impacts include raw materials mining, manufacture, and assembly of electronic components, as well as transportation of the finished product.
However, changes to electronics’ design, supply chains, and manufacturing could lead to meaningful results:
Tapping into electricity generated from renewable resources could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 35%.
Material and energy efficiency improvements in manufacturing processes could further reduce emissions by 20%.
Using low-carbon fuels for transportation could cut GHG emissions by 5%.
Extending the life cycle of a product through increased durability and repair, along with high recycling and recovery rates, could further reduce embodied carbon by at least 5%.
How EPEAT is Addressing Electronics’ Impact on Climate Change
EPEAT has been leveraging the purchasing power of organizations to make collective sustainable impacts since 2006. As the premier Type 1 electronics global ecolabel, EPEAT helps purchasers find products that contribute to common sustainability goals. Products found on the EPEAT Registry empower organizations to use their routine technology procurement to prioritize environmental and human health without sacrificing product performance.
The EPEAT Climate Criteria empower purchasing organizations to make more sustainable purchasing decisions with an increased ability to consider the climate impacts of registered products. Purchasers that specify these criteria in procurement will ensure that the products they purchase come from manufacturers that have met requirements to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. This in turn contributes to supply chain decarbonization and Scope 3 emission reductions.
Starting in late 2023, products that have been verified to meet these criteria will be listed as Early Adopters on the EPEAT Registry. All products will have to meet the Climate Criteria by December 31, 2025. As this date approaches, the Registry will become an increasingly powerful tool for organizations and their electronics procurement.
The Climate Criteria address the following topics critical to emissions reduction:
Public & Third-Party Verifiable Product GHG Disclosures
Science-Based Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets
Energy Efficient Manufacturing
Sourcing of Electricity from Renewable Energy Sources
“We welcome the increased focus on reducing greenhouse gases in the electronics supply chain by the EPEAT ecolabel, which is used across the California Department of General Services (DGS) for office electronics. EPEAT’s focus on decarbonizing the supply chain and promoting the use of renewable energy aligns with recent internal initiatives and contributes to our sustainability goals.” – Ana M. Lasso, DGS Director
Schedule for Implementation
May 16, 2023
Publication of Criteria
September 30, 2023
Products meeting these criteria will begin to appear on the EPEAT Registry
November 1, 2025
Products meeting these criteria will appear on EPEAT Registry
Additional Resources for Your Organization
GEC has several tools to help purchasers integrate EPEAT into sustainable procurement processes. Organizations can use GEC’s suggested language for Reporting Requests and Purchasing Policy as guides to get started.