CII-GEC, US launches environmental rating systems for electronics

New Delhi, July 23: CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development today celebrated the Indian debut of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) environmental-rating system for electronics with an event in Delhi co-hosted with the Green Electronics Council.

CII convened representatives from the electronics industry, enterprise purchasers, government and Indian civil society in a discussion of how EPEAT can support and reinforce Indian efforts to reduce the environmental impacts of electronics.

The Green Electronics Council, the U.S-based non-profit organization that manages the EPEAT system encouraged attendees from all stakeholder groups to continue thinking creatively

For eight years, EPEAT ratings have helped companies, governments and consumers around the world compare and purchase greener devices, resulting in significant environmental benefits.

India is the 43rd country in which EPEAT registration and verification services are now available to help purchasers select products that reduce their environmental impact.

“Indian purchasers now have a way to easily and reliably identify greener electronics, joining with others around the world to reward the development of more environmentally sound devices,” said Robert Frisbee, CEO of the Green Electronics Council.

“Considering the size and scope of the Indian electronics market, we are excited about the environmental benefits that will flow from today’s opening of EPEAT for India,” Frisbee added.

EPEAT, which stands for “Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool,” rates products on a lifecycle basis. The system addresses the elimination of toxic substances, the use of recycled and recyclable materials, product design for recycling, product longevity, energy efficiency, corporate performance and packaging attributes, as well as requiring manufacturer responsibility for collection and responsible recycling of all registered devices. Manufacturers must register their products in EPEAT on a country-by-country basis to ensure all product and service criteria are supported and verified for local markets. (More at www.epeat.net)

“Indian industry and enterprise use ICT products to create new efficiencies and sustainability benefits,” said Seema Arora, Executive Director of CII-ITC Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development.

“The availability of EPEAT registration will enable bulk-consumers of ICT products to increase the net benefit of these activities by easily identifying and selecting environmentally responsible products,” Arora added.

Dell and HP have already registered 146 PC and Display products in India, VXL Instruments of Bangalore has joined the EPEAT system as a Participating Manufacturer and other manufacturers are preparing to register. The EPEAT system currently rates PCs and Displays, Televisions and Imaging Equipment (printers, copiers, scanners etc.), with standards for Servers and Mobile Phones in development. At present, India registrations include Desktops, Notebooks, Workstations, Thin Clients and Displays. Devices will be continually added to the Registry as they are deemed compliant with EPEAT’s environmental requirements.

“The ICT sector in India is very concerned with the environmental impacts of product design, manufacturing and end of life recovery” said Anwar Shirpurwala, Executive Director of MAIT (formerly known as the Manufacturers Association for Information Technology).

“Participation in programmes such as EPEAT will support Indian manufacturers’ ability to reap market rewards in both internal and external markets based on their products’ environmental performance. It shall enable provision of globally accepted, transparent and effective methods to ensure greener electronics,” Shirpurwala added.

To qualify for the EPEAT Registry, electronic devices must meet at between 23- 33 required environmental performance criteria based on product category. Products achieve higher ratings by meeting up to 29 additional optional criteria. The ratings criteria were developed during multi-year stakeholder consensus processes that have involved hundreds of representatives from the environmental, research, governmental and manufacturing sectors, as well as public and private bulk consumers.

“Customers are looking for simple ways to make comparisons between products and their environmental qualities. Dell helps its customers make those assessments easily through our commitment to a wide range of EPEAT product registrations,” says Michael Murphy, Executive Director Worldwide Regulatory Compliance and Environmental Affairs at Dell.

“EPEAT-registered products are a global solution reflecting our own environmental sustainability principles and we are proud to expand our EPEAT product registrations to the Indian market,” Murphy added.

EPEAT’s environmental rating system is used as a purchasing requirement by eight national governments, including the United States Federal government, and thousands of other purchasers worldwide to obtain products that meet strict environmental criteria that support more effective recycling, reduced energy consumption, longer product life and reduced toxicity. Purchase contracts that require EPEAT registration exceed $65 billion in purchasing value. All products registered in EPEAT More than 50 manufacturers participate across more than 40 countries. More than 600 million EPEAT-registered products have been purchased since the Registry debuted in July 2006.

“I’m proud that my district is home to this organization that is making such a difference, not just in the US but around the world. The U.S. government is leading by example by embracing EPEAT standards for purchasing greener electronics, and I’m eager to see the positive impact of the expanded EPEAT registry,” said U.S. Representative Earl Blumenauer.

“We need to create new paths to environmental success stories that rely on creativity not

restriction, science not politics and incentive not penalty. EPEAT’s success shows that a cooperative, reward-based approach can move markets and that diverse stakeholders working together can be true catalysts for change. The alliances the Green Electronics Council is building in India demonstrate how leadership through collaboration can be a powerful tool for global progress,” Blumenauer added.

Since 2006, purchasers choosing EPEAT-registered electronics over products that don’t meet the system’s criteria have eliminated greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 11 million U.S. vehicles’ annual impact, avoided more than 394,000 metric tons of hazardous waste and reduced solid waste by nearly 167,000 metric tons – equivalent to nearly 86,000 U.S. households’ annual waste. (ANI)