Eco-labels are certifications that certain devices and products can qualify for to demonstrate their environmental benefits and/or performance. There is a wide range of eco-labels on the market, and not all of them are credible.
However, the following eco-labels are reputable, have third-party auditing, and can be integrated into purchasing decisions to support sustainability.
Best practice: Ask suppliers for product-specific declarations of environmental impact.
Action: In addition to the certifications, many IT manufacturers can provide documentation on the lifecycle impact, from extraction through usage, of their products. This could include, for example, information on carbon emissions, recycled content, or hazardous material content. The methodologies used between companies can vary, so look for declarations that reference common standards such as ISO 14040 – Life Cycle Assessment.
Best practice: Prioritize TCO Certification for IT product purchases to build social wellbeing criteria into purchasing decisions.
About: TCO Certified is a prominent sustainable IT certification, with regular updates, independent verification, and action against non-compliance. Like EPEAT, it scans a range of environmental criteria, but also has requirements to prevent the use of conflict materials, prevent child labour, ensure worker health and safety and fairness, and integrates anti-corruption measures.
Best practice: Prioritize EnergySTAR certified equipment where EPEAT certification is not available.
About: EnergySTAR devices use less energy than non-certified devices. This are a single-attribute certification and only look at energy efficiency, but may cover other IT-related products where there is currently not an EPEAT certification available, for example on some audio/video equipment, lighting, or telephones. EPEAT certification includes EnergySTAR requirements, so an EPEAT certified product also includes energy efficiency benefits.
Best practice: Prioritize EPEAT Silver or higher certified devices wherever possible.
About: The Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) provides information about the environmental impact of a product. It has a multi-attribute framework that includes many dimensions of product sustainability, and has expanded to include a wide range of IT products, including computers, cellphones, displays, printers, and servers. Almost all computers in the current Desktop Rollover contract, and most phones in the current cell phone contract are certified to at least EPEAT Silver, and most are EPEAT Gold.