Product declaration in a fast-paced, variable industry
EPEAT® uses a self-declaration and verification system to govern the addition of products to the registry. To register products in EPEAT, manufacturers must sign a contract requiring them to accurately declare that their products meet system criteria. Product declarations are not precertified, but manufacturers must possess and produce evidence to support all declarations (as specified in the relevant standard) upon EPEAT’s request.
This system, which was designed by EPEAT’s original stakeholder developers, addresses the unique characteristics of the electronic products marketplace. Electronics experience very high rates of change in components and sourcing from product launch through the end of their commercial lives. Given this tremendous variability, precertification based on a one-time investigation before a product is released is fundamentally inadequate.
Rigorous and independent validation
EPEAT employs rigorous and transparent post-declaration verification procedures. EPEAT helps ensure compliance by regularly selecting products and criteria from the registry at random and hiring independent experts to verify that the chosen products meet the selected criteria as declared. The process includes unannounced, in-depth investigations and public exposure in all cases of nonconformance. All incidents are published in verification reports that include both manufacturer and product names. The system is designed to make nonconformance publicly embarrassing and to maintain the constant likelihood of investigation at any time.
EPEAT investigates both targeted and random selections of products on an ongoing basis to ensure they meet the criteria declared by their manufacturers. All Subscribers can expect to have multiple products investigated each year. The verification process may require a manufacturer to provide production reports, lab analysis or other data, or EPEAT may independently obtain products and subject them to detailed laboratory analysis or destructive disassembly.
In addition to verifying product claims, EPEAT investigates any criteria that are thought to have an especially significant environmental impact, are particularly challenging to meet, or have been the subject of questions or concerns expressed by stakeholders.
Verification investigations are carried out by EPEAT’s network of Product Registration Entities (PREs), using independent Qualified Verifiers expert in IEEE 1680 standards conformity assessment. A Product Verification Committee (PVC)—comprised of independent experts on electronics and the environment who are blind to the identity of the companies and products involved—then reviews each investigation finding (as well as any appeals filed by the manufacturer) and issues a report.
When the committee identifies an incidence of nonconformance, the manufacturer is required to correct the declaration.
The Conformity Assessment Protocols provide a detailed review of each criterion included in the standards implemented in EPEAT. In addition, all Interpretations and Clarifications that have been issued by the PVC or the IEEE Environmental Assessment Standards Committee regarding the language of the criterion, specific measures for demonstrating conformity and alternate approaches to supporting the accuracy of a declaration are available for review and download.
Visit the resource section for more information.