Last year, Walmart announced that it was developing a Sustainability Index for every product on its shelves. At the same time, the retailer revealed that it was providing seed funding to the Sustainability Consortium, a group of NGOs, government organizations, retailers, and suppliers to help develop the lifecycle database for its products. And now the consortium has embarked on its first big project: a green standard for electronics.
Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, Energy Star, and the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) label are all decent starting points for determining the sustainability of different gadgets, but the consortium wants to make an all-encompassing green label that takes into account everything from labor conditions to end-of-life disposal. The label will also take into account criteria used by other standards, including EPEAT and Energy Star.
The Sustainability Consortium is working quickly with partners including Best Buy, HP, Walmart, and Dell to research and publish lifecycle assessments for all types of electronics, starting with computers and monitors. Data from the first round of research will be released later this year.
No word yet from the consortium as to what its green label or seal might look like. But if the organization does its job right, the label will be simple, recognizable, and easy to decipher.