"Making environmentally responsible purchasing decisions is a key concern for our customers," said David MacDonald, President and CEO of Softchoice. "We are committed to doing our part and to giving organizations the information they need to make the best choices possible - for their business and for the environment. Our partnership with EPEAT and CNET Channel is a groundbreaking step in delivering on this promise."
New search filters on www.softchoice.com will make it easy to identify which products in Softchoice’s database are environmentally preferable products registered under the EPEAT greener electronics program - an anticipated 1500 SKUs. EPEAT evaluates electronic products according to three tiers of environmental performance: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each EPEAT- registered computer, laptop or monitor complies with 23 mandatory environmental performance criteria to attain Bronze (entry-level) registration. Meeting differing levels of an additional 28 optional criteria qualify products at the higher Silver and Gold levels. Key benchmarks include the elimination of environmentally sensitive materials in the manufacturing process, product longevity, end of life management, and energy conservation.
Visitors to www.softchoice.com can now use the three EPEAT classification tiers, or the word ’EPEAT’, in addition to standard search criteria such as memory and processor speed, to identify the most environmentally-friendly purchasing option when selecting a new computer or monitor.
"Like many companies, we are committed to minimizing the impact of our IT investments on the environment. But the lack of information has been challenging," said Darin Borden, Director of IT for McKinstry Co. "EPEAT has made the selection of environmentally preferable products much easier - and the work Softchoice is doing will make it even simpler for purchasers to make the right choices for their organization and for the planet."
EPEAT was created through an extensive stakeholder process supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the growing number of IT purchasers seeking to buy more environmentally sustainable computer products. Launched in 2006, EPEAT is now a mandatory purchasing criterion for the U.S. Federal Government, is included in the Government of Canada’s IT tender language, and is used by numerous states, provinces, and cities across North America to assist in identifying greener electronic product options. Private purchasers, including Fortune 500 health services company McKesson, and Kaiser Permanente, the largest nonprofit heathcare provider in the U.S., are also rapidly adopting EPEAT as a contract requirement - and seeing environmental and cost benefits as a result. In the next five years the U.S. EPA estimates that the purchase of EPEAT products will result in the reduction of more than 13 million pounds of hazardous waste, more than three million pounds of non-hazardous waste, and save more than 600,000 Megawatts of energy.
"EPEAT is a landmark standard but a key challenge until now has been making EPEAT registry information more widely accessible," said Jeff Omelchuck, Executive Director of the Green Electronics Council, the nonprofit organization that manages EPEAT. "We are fortunate to have a partner like Softchoice willing to use its reach and standing in the market to ensure that the greener options identified through EPEAT are front and center with organizations everywhere."
According to some estimates, the global use of technology contributes roughly the same carbon emissions as the entire aviation industry. Without decisive action, the negative impact of IT on the environment will continue to increase dramatically in the coming years.
"If the 70 million PCs expected to be sold in the U.S. in 2008 were to meet the standards of EPEAT Silver, we could save enough energy to power over a million homes," said Melissa Quinn, Sustainability Programs Manager for Softchoice. "Clearly the effect of deploying more environmentally responsible technologies is significant."
In addition to the EPEAT listings, Softchoice has also launched a web portal to provide additional information on products and best practices that can help organizations reduce the impact of their IT operations on the environment. The Softchoice EcoTech website includes information on improving data center efficiency, PC power management and technologies designed to offset travel and reduce paper consumption. [April 23, 2008]
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