San Francisco Suspends Apple Purchases

by | Jul 12, 2012

San Francisco’s city government says it will no longer buy Apple desktops, laptops or monitors after the company decided to withdraw its products from the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool registry, Bloomberg reports.

The city’s 50 departments and 28,000 employees will no longer be able to buy Apple’s Mac computers. San Francisco’s policy, which requires all personal computers, laptops and monitors purchased by municipal departments to meet strict environmental standards, doesn’t apply to iPhones and iPads.

Waivers can also be issued in special circumstances, but the city’s Committee on Information Technology would have to approve such a waiver, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

City officials are trying to consult with Apple about the Cupertino, Calif., company’s decision to pull its products from EPEAT, according to several news reports.

Apple asked EPEAT to pull all of its 39 certified desktop computers, monitors and laptops off EPEAT’s list of green products last month. EPEAT, which is run by the non-profit Zero Waste Alliance, is a leading sustainability listing of computer manufacturers, and is used by governments and universities to make purchasing decisions.

Apple’s move could have far-reaching consequences for the company because many universities and governments are required to use EPEAT’s registry when making purchasing decisions. The University of California, the largest US public higher-education system, is examining whether to suspend Apple purchases because its bylaws require computers to meet the standards, Bloomberg reports.

Apple’s withdrawal from EPEAT isn’t expected to impact federal procurements, however. The U.S. General Services Administration will likely continue to buy Apple products because its guidelines are less stringent than those of many universities and local and state governments, GSA spokesman Dan Cruz told the San Francisco Chronicle.

EPEAT’s registry of participating manufacturers lists Apple competitor companies and their EPEAT-certified products: Dell has 171, Hewlett Packard has 221 and Samsung has 309.

Apple hasn’t issued an official explanation for its decision to remove its products from EPEAT. Some reports speculate that design changes for Apple’s new MacBook Pro, which make it more difficult to disassemble and recycle, led to the decision.

The company issued a statement that defends its decision and says it meets strict environmental standards, including those of the government’s Energy Star program, Bloomberg reports.

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