Sarah O'Brien, EPEAT Outreach Director for the Green Electronics Council
Purchasers are crucial gatekeepers for development and support of “Green IT” programs, whose selection of products, services and suppliers can build a foundation for leaner, greener operations, or undermine environmental efforts. Yet procurement specialists are rarely expert on environmental issues, and often encounter difficulty when tasked with developing green purchasing specifications. Credible, life-cycle focused environmental procurement standards can greatly simplify the integration of critical environmental performance criteria into purchase contracts. Broadly used, standards can not only significantly reduce individual organizations’ environmental impact, but contribute to overall shifts in the market towards more sustainable products and services. This presentation will review the critical role played by one procurement standard in greening IT purchasing -- the EPEAT environmental procurement system, which currently covers desktops, laptops, workstations, thin client and monitors, and which will be expanding to cover printers, TVs, servers and mobile devices. EPEAT has grown rapidly – from 3 manufacturers and 60 products in 2006 to 30+ manufacturers and over 1000 products today, and has been made a US federal government purchasing requirement.EPEAT demonstrates how broad adoption of a credible standard can drive redesign of products and services to meet higher environmental performance criteria.