After getting flack from environmental groups (and the city of San Francisco), Apple has reversed its decision to leave EPEAT, the environmental certification registry. In a rare admission of a mistake, Bob Mansfield, soon-to-be-retired senior vice president of hardware engineering, writes in an open letter:
We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.
He also essentially spells out, in a way, why Apple left EPEAT in the first place:
Apple makes the most environmentally responsible products in our industry. In fact, our engineering teams have worked incredibly hard over the years to make our products even more environmentally friendly, and much of our progress has come in areas not yet measured by EPEAT.
He indicates that Apple does want EPEAT to modernize its standards — "We think the IEEE 1680.1 standard could be a much stronger force for protecting the environment if it were upgraded to include advancements [like the ones Apple's pursued]" — which is what Sarah O'Brien, EPEAT's director of outreach and communications, told us earlier this week they wanted help from Apple in doing.