Environmental impact

A new standard being developed at the IEEE will help corporate computer buyers assess their environmental impact before they buy them.

Those people who purchase computers for companies, government agencies and other organisations face the challenge of how to assess their environmental impact before they buy.

Now, a new standard being developed at the IEEE will help resolve the issue.

IEEE P1680, “Standard for Environmental Assessment of Personal Computer Products”, when completed in early 2006, will encompass criteria in eight categories – environmentally sensitive materials selection, design for end of life, product longevity and life-cycle extension, energy conservation, end-of-life management, corporate performance, and packaging.

The standard will be based on a draft document developed over the past 30 months by a 35-member body drawn from the industrial, governmental, environmental, academic and other communities.

“The standard responds to a strong call from purchasing agents who want consistent environmental criteria for comparing and selecting computers and monitors,” says Holly Elwood, chair of the IEEE P1680 Working Group and Project Manager for the US EPA’s Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program.

Balloting on the standard will begin in September. Anyone interested in commenting on the draft standard should contact Larry Chalfan at lchalfan@zerowaste.org by September 15, 2005.