Photo via laffy4k via Flickr Creative Commons
EPEAT, the organization that certifies electronics based on environmental criteria like recyclability, materials selection, and longevity, is growing by leaps an bounds. About a year and a half ago, the organization expanded their certifications database so that countries across the globe could access the information and make smarter purchasing decisions. Now there's a new demand to meet for ever more product registrations, so EPEAT is expanding yet again. This time, it is bringing on more partners so that it can handle the influx of products to be put through rigorous testing for a bronze, silver or gold rating. EPEAT has already registered 3,200 products from 45 participating manufacturers across 41 countries, ensuring that each one goes through testing and receives the ranking it deserves. The demand, however, is so great that EPEAT has now launched a global network of organizations that can be (hopefully) trusted to follow EPEAT standards for testing and ranking more electronics.
"This system builds on the remarkable strengths of EPEAT-- rating based on consensus-based public standards, tiered rankings that encourage competition and continuous improvement, declaration accompanied by ongoing independent verification, and easy access to a single registry of qualified products," said Jeff Omelchuck, EPEAT' s Executive Director, in a press release. "Yet it also opens the system to multiple participants who will work with us to broaden and strengthen the registration services available to manufacturers worldwide."
It also opens the system up to more potential for faulty or questionable rankings. The bigger a third-party organization gets, especially when it brings on additional partners, the more potential it has for slip-ups. With the problems of Energy Star, arguably the most well known and trusted energy efficiency ranking from the EPA, fresh on our minds, consumers can be and should be wary about green labels. So far, EPEAT has given us nothing to worry about, and we hope it stays that way.
EPEAT states that "The new network will broaden the support services available to manufacturers by language, regional base and verification methods, while the central collaboration between the groups on technical, interpretive and verification issues will maintain consistency and quality assurance across the EPEAT system and around the globe."
Some of the organizations include Intertek, Environment and Development Foundation,
VDE Testing and Certification Institute, Industrial Technology Research Institute/Beautiful Life Education Foundation and others.
Considering EPEAT is quickly earning credibility and recognition to be on par with Energy Star and others, this is important news that consumers want to be aware of.
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