Electronics companies, retailers to simplify ‘green’ electronics purchasing for consumers

sustainabilityconsortiumlogoTempe, Ariz. — The Sustainability Consortium, along with leading electronics companies and retailers, plans to establish a system to help consumers identify “green” electronics. Partners include Dell, HP, Intel, Toshiba, Best Buy and Walmart. Initial results will be available in the third quarter of 2010.

The Sustainability Consortium, co-administered by Arizona State University and the University of Arkansas, will research and publish findings on the lifecycle environmental and social impacts of electronic products. These findings will be used to support efforts to identify products as sustainable or green.

“Customers tell us they want to purchase electronics that have a minimal impact on our planet. This is an effort to help them do that using a common methodology that manufacturers across the industry participate in,” said Scott O’Connell, environmental strategist, Dell, in a statement. “This is about making it easy for customers to determine what’s green and what’s not, and we’d like to have the whole industry involved.”

The consortium will consider the impacts electronics have on those who build, use and dispose of them, as well as their environmental impacts throughout their lifecycle, says the group. It also is investigating how to collaborate with standards and programs that consumers are already familiar with such as EPEAT (the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), ENERGY STAR, and the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition.

“Developing additional detailed information on the lifecycle impacts of electronics will not only help our customers make educated buying decisions, but assist companies to make clear, pointed product sustainability claims,” said Engelina Jaspers, vice president of environmental sustainability, HP, in a statement. “Reaching uniformity in communicating sustainability claims will be a decision made in the name of consistency, transparency, and simplicity and will benefit all involved.”