IT Products Fail Green Accreditation Test


A new study from Probrand has found that 80 percent of IT products on the market have no stated green credentials or accreditation

Despite government legislation on carbon outputs, nearly 80 percent of IT products on the market have no ‘green’ measure or accreditation, according to research by technology services provider Probrand.

In its internal research, Probrand examined 150,000 IT products from 110 manufacturers covering 22 different product categories, and discovered that only 22 percent were found to have any official environmental standard.

Of the 22 percent that had official green accreditations, desktops and servers emerged as the sector with the most accreditations (42 percent), whereas notebooks achieved 36 percent, monitors had 17 percent and printers ten percent.

No Global Accreditation

Speaking to eWEEK Europe UK, Gary Price, Business Analyst at Probrand felt that, despite the lack of accreditations, users should not think that their products are necessarily toxic.

“The lack of accreditation doesn’t mean that products are not up to standard, it means that they are just not accredited,” Price said.

The research also highlighted that there is no single standard associated with sustainability, and the measures that do exist are inconsistent in their approaches. However, Energy Star does feature as a standard that appears as part of all measures.

So is the lack of a single worldwide standard the problem for the lack of products gaining accreditation?

“In my personal opinion there are several reasons for this,” said Price. “First, manufacturers have to go back to the beginning, and go back to where the product is manufactured, and look at the wiring, the internal parts, the metals used, in order to gain accreditation. There is a lot of work to do.”

“Another reason, is that there is no one-off environmental standard to comply with, as different countries use different standards,” he said. There are a number of different standards such as Blue Angel, EPEAT, and the government’s own ‘Quick Wins’.

“The third reason is that, although everyone want to be green and do the best for the environment, price is still the main driving issue in the market at the moment.”

Probrand said that all the standards such as Blue Angel, EPEAT, ‘Quick Wins’ each inconsistently consider and weight credentials like documentation on recycled paper, chlorine free packaging, halogen free cables, energy consumption etc.

In addition, none of them consider the lifecycle of the product or the impact of the supply chain through which a product is delivered.

Business Pressure

Business is under pressure to green IT at the same time as acknowledging that greener IT is an operational cash saver,” said Price. “There is clearly motivation for adoption. However, our research has perhaps unearthed a three sided barrier to swift adoption. Fundamentally, not enough products have a ‘green’ accreditation and of those that do it is very challenging to compare between products or benchmark.”

“There is no consistent industry measure for sustainability and of the measures that do exist, there is little understanding. Furthermore, of the green related product information that does exist it is rarely provided to the IT buyer in an easy to digest fashion,” he said.

“If buyers cannot get ‘green’ product credentials or data that is easy to understand and digest, then there is little hope of adoption of genuinely sustainable IT.”

Price feels that there needs to be a dynamic shift in the marketplace, with IT equipment makers having their hands tied when considering which of the myriad costly assessments they should apply to products.

“Governments need to incentivise an industry-wide drive for manufacturers to conduct ‘green’ due diligence on products as demanded by IT buyers,” he said.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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