On March 19, the Obama Administration published Executive Order 13693 addressing federal sustainability efforts. The new Executive Order reinforces the need to accomplish environmentally sound purchasing, but several elements threaten to weaken that very mission. Stakeholders in the sustainable electronics community have consequently expressed concern and confusion.
The new Executive Order deletes references to EPEAT, a rating system for electronics that concentrates a highly complex set of environmental variables down to a simple, effective solution. The EPEAT Registry – managed by the Green Electronics Council (“GEC”) – has proven its value for eight years by helping organizations committed to environmental procurement policies attain meaningful goals.
As a result of EPEAT’s success, Federal Agencies, private sector purchasers and environmental advocates alike have asked the Obama Administration to continue the Executive Order reference to EPEAT. They have expressed surprise at the appearance of abandoning an important sustainability program that has worked through voluntary, market-based incentive rather than regulation.
Fortunately, the positive impact of EPEAT will also be its strongest anchor in Federal and global practices. EPEAT appears in scores of Federal contracts that last over time, so in the short term its removal may not significantly alter the U.S. government’s procurement outlook. EPEAT is well known and well understood by U.S. Federal agencies, and it will continue to provide a “clear path” to environmentally sound purchasing.
Purchasers such as U.S. government agencies use EPEAT voluntarily because the system is their best path to accomplish a desired goal: environmentally sound purchase of electronics in an easy, proven way. EPEAT is the most effective, credible and convenient system for thousands of enterprise, government and educational purchasers. The Green Electronics Council will continue to work with organizations worldwide to ensure this essential framework — developed in the U.S. and embraced globally — continues to flourish at a time when the world needs it most.
Green Electronics Council