Green ICT in Europe: Too Many Local Standards Listing Too Few Products
We found back in 2010 that the European market for Green ICT products had many local standards with few certified products. That did not appear to best serve sustainability-oriented computer buyers - consumer or enterprise - who need to make practical purchasing decisions incorporating sustainability. The situation has not improved in recent years.
Our recent update of Finding the Greenest Tablets illustrates the continuing challenges for conscientious buyers trying to sort through standards.
Consider the situation in Sweden. There are only three TCO Certified models from two different manufacturers, down from five models from a different manufacturer in 2014. Nordic Swan Ecolabel does not appear appear to certify any tablets. On the other hand, EPEAT lists twenty Gold models for Sweden.
Germany's Blue Angel does not appear appear to certify any tablets, either. By contrast, EPEAT lists twenty-four Gold models for Germany.
Only Sweden's TCO Development showed significant growth its certification database. Eco Label (aka, Eco Flower) is still active, but the Eco Label product search capability appears non-responsive.
Sweden's TCO Development has a database offering thousands displays and has grown its certification of computers from a couple dozen in 2010 to about ~400 in 2012. Each Nordic country except Iceland now has over 250 EPEAT Gold products to choose from.
The Blue Angel, a German government initiative, describes itself as "the first and oldest environment-related label for products and services in the world…about 10,000 products and services in 80 product categories carry the Blue Angel eco-label" The Blue Angel listed ~25 desktop computers and one monitor in 2010 but there are none in 2012. By contrast, EPEAT Gold listings for Germany have tripled to almost 400.
The UK's Energy Saving Trust database has grown modestly to 21 desktops and 27 printers. EPEAT Gold offers over 300 products for the United Kingdom.
The Nordic Swan had a couple dozen ICT products, mostly from 1 manufacturer.
EU, itself, has its Ecolabel (Eco Flower) program, which still lists only ~20 ICT products, mostly notebooks from ASUStek. (See more about EcoFlower in comment, below.)
There have been European criticisms of the US-based EPEAT program, which covers 42 countries on five continents, but nothing of similar scope has yet emerged from local European efforts. The comment thread below contains a healthy discussion of some of these issues, as well as evidences a growing cooperation across the Atlantic.
We have added the products from these European ecolabels to our Greenest E-Gear listings, available to the right. None of these certification bodies appear to rate mobile devices.
UK mobile service provider Telefónica O2 jumps into the European mobile ratings vacuum with an 'Eco rating' for the mobile phones it sells from participating manufacturers. We've added their top-rated units to our Greenest E-Gear Mobile Phones.