Global Electronics Council Releases New EPEAT Climate Criteria

by | May 18, 2023

A tree growing inside a light bulb on a circuit board. This represents green technology and innovative ideas.

(Credit: Canva)

Updated criteria that will establish new requirements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of common office technology have been released by Global Electronics Council (GEC) to help organizations and businesses identify electronics with lower climate impacts, such as Scope 3 emissions.

The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) Climate Criteria consists of updated requirements for greenhouse gas public disclosure, science-based greenhouse gas targets, the use of renewable energy, and reduced energy use within the supply chain as well as during a product’s use. This will make it easier to find electronics with lessened climate impacts throughout the manufacturing, use, and disposal processes, according to the council.

The GEC said the new criteria will contribute to the issue of supply chain decarbonization and Scope 3 emission reductions and will allow suppliers and consumers to make fact-based decisions on the products they build and buy.

The criteria will be implemented across EPEAT product categories to provide new and more strict requirements that align with the sustainability goals of leading organizations.

Bob Mitchell, CEO of GEC, said that the life cycle of technology products contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions globally. Technology companies, purchasers, and other stakeholders must make decisions on building and purchasing low-carbon products to create systems that will contribute to the climate crisis.

The Global E-Waste Monitor found that 53.6 million tons of electronic waste were generated in 2019, an increase of 21% in five years and a record high. The report predicted that global electronic waste will almost double, reaching 74 million metric tons by 2030, due to increased consumption of electronics with short life cycles and minimal repair options.

The GEC is a nonprofit that aims to create, through leveraging the power of purchasers, a world where only sustainable technology is bought and sold. They focus on high-impact sustainability issues like climate change and product circularity, managing the EPEAT ecolabel, and producing other resources to support sustainable technology.

EPEAT says it is the world’s leading Type 1 electronics ecolabel, serving as a free resource for procurement professionals to identify and select products with reduced impacts across crucial sustainability issues. Since its launch in 2006, 2.4 billion EPEAT products have reportedly been purchased, generating $24.6 billion in cost savings and a reduction of 286 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, according to a press release.

Products registered under EPEAT will be required to meet the new climate criteria by the end of 2025. Manufacturers may begin working towards these criteria immediately and will be able to demonstrate early adoption of the criteria through the EPEAT Registry before the end of 2023.

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