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Technology creates many solutions for sustainability challenges, but it often creates its own problems. Electronic devices often contain metals that are mined from parts of the world with poor environmental and human rights practices. Many of those same metals are also toxic when sent to landfill. Our increasing use of technology also increases our energy consumption, which contributes to climate change. The following certifications and standards can help guide sustainable procurement options:

Certifications and Standards

Certification Description Logo

Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)

EPEAT is a certification for computer and other electronic products. The standard's evaluation criteria include energy efficiency, reduction and elimination of environmentally sensitive materials, materials selection, design for end-of-life, and much more. EPEAT Logo
Energy STAR

ENERGY STAR is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency voluntary program that helps businesses and individuals save money and protect our climate through superior energy efficiency.

Energy STAR logo

Things to Consider:

Icon showing a piece of paperBuy credibly certified products

  • Make sure to request options that are third party certified such as EPEAT, Energy STAR, and TCO.

Icon displaying a hand hold a blooming dollar signConsider lifecycle costs

  • What are the operational costs of the product over its lifespan? This guide from the Principles for Digital Development can help estimate total lifetime costs of enterprise software soltutions.
  • Are there energy or resource-saving settings, such as “sleep mode”? This information can easily be found in product descriptions or reviews.

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  • How long is the product and its components meant to last? Does the product and/or packaging contain reusable/replaceable parts? Product descriptions and reviews can be extremely useful in this regard.
  • Does the vendor offer an end-of-life takeback program? This is typically explicitly stated. If no, can the product and/or packaging be disposed of through existing UW waste programs? Refer to the A-Z Sorting Guide if  unsure.
  • Does the product integrate post-consumer-recycled content, such as plastic or metal?