Rivals clash over competing green IT standards

The U.S. EPEAT rating standards are being challenged by the Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI), which has announced a catalogue of recommended IT product purchases of their own.

It also only rates products from suppliers who are CSCI members, making turning the CSCI into a trade association and not an industry-wide group dedicated to combating global warming.

Searching the CSCI catalogue reveals that no IBM products are listed. IBM is not a CSCI member. Gateway products are listed on the EPEAT register but not in the CSCI catalogue. Gateway is not a CSCI member. Panasonic notebooks are EPEAT-rated; the company’s products don’t exist on the CSCI list. Panasonic is not a CSCI member.

It seems that only suppliers who are CSCI members have their products certified.


EPEAT and the CSCI differ in several ways:

– EPEAT is for the USA only whereas CSCI is world-wide

– EPEAT rates PCs, notebooks and monitors; CSCI certifies PCs, notebooks, volume (x86) servers and power supply hardware and software – EPEAT has three rating levels of increasing stringency; CSCI only has a single rating level

– EPEAT is open to all suppliers who self-certify; CSCI only certifies supplier members’ products

– EPEAT looks at hazardous material use and recycling of the products it rates; CSCI does not.

CSCI wishes to have a world-wide certification scheme and its ability to do this would have been compromised if it based its certification on EPEAT criteria. EPEAT has developed hazardous material and recycling criteria as well as energy-efficiency ones. These are not readily reproducible round the globe. The CSCI has restricted itself to energy-using criteria only and rejected EPEAT’s work.

CSCI’s ability to influence IT purchasers and have the support of indirect channel companies is compromised by it only certifying supplier member companies’ products.

A prominent European reseller source said that it sells over 30,000 products from a huge number of suppliers and it isn’t going to commit to only selling CSCI-certified ones. Asked about CSCI being, in effect, a trade association the person said: “If this is a trade association I don’t believe it’s the right way to go.”

Computer-buying organizations that join CSCI commit to buying energy-efficient IT products.

The CSCI Web site states: ‘The Climate Savers Computing Initiative brings together industry, consumers and conservation organizations to significantly increase the energy efficiency of computers and servers.’ A more accurate depiction might state that the CSCI is a trade association which only lists its supplier members’ energy-efficient kit and encourages customer members to buy that kit.

It regards climate-saving as being dependent on energy-efficiency only and rejects concerns about hazardous materials and recycling.

The conclusion is clear: as only CSCI supplier member companies’ products are listed, CSCI is acting as a trade association for the benefit of its members, and is flying under a World Wildlife Fund banner as it does so.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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