As Therese Van Ryne noted in her Earth Day 2019 blog post, Zebra is making a concerted effort to increase its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives and fulfill recently-expanded sustainability commitments. In the past few months alone, we have made significant strides.
In early April, we launched the MC9300, the newest generation of our flagship mobile computer. As my colleagues Joe White and Lynsert Walcolm explained in this blog post, the Android™ handheld device boasts an environmentally-conscious design that offers increased device reliability and serviceability over previous generation models. These improvements (along with others outlined in the post) reduce the environmental impact of routine device maintenance and the eventual refresh of customers’ installed device base.
Around the same time, we also received confirmation that the Zebra L10 portfolio of rugged tablets have received a Silver rating under the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) 2019 standards. Even better: the Zebra XPAD® L10, XBOOK® L10 and XSLATE™ L10 – which are part of the enterprise-grade mobile computing portfolio we acquired from Xplore Technologies last year – are currently the highest-rated rugged tablets on the 2019 EPEAT registry.
Why does that matter?
1. Just as an ENERGY STAR rating verifies a product’s energy efficiency, an EPEAT rating confirms a device manufacturer’s sustainability claims. As the Green Electronics Council (GEC) explains it on the EPEAT website: “EPEAT is the leading global ecolabel for the IT sector…National governments, including the United States, and thousands of private and public institutional purchasers around the world use EPEAT as part of their sustainable procurement decisions.” Securing EPEAT validation is just proof that we are following through on our sustainability efforts.
2. The 1680.1 standard used to determine a mobile computer’s EPEAT rating have become much stricter in 2019, making it more difficult to achieve a Silver or Gold rating*. The 2019 EPEAT registry scores tablets, laptops and 2-in-1s** using 51 different criteria specific to impacts such as toxics reduction, resource consumption, environmental management, social responsibility, emissions reduction and lifecycle management. The 2009 EPEAT registry only scores devices against 29 criteria, many of which centered on packaging. As a result, many products previously registered as Silver or Gold under the 2009 rating system have only achieved a Bronze rating using the 2019 criteria. Clearly the bar has been raised to a level that exceeds other manufacturers’ current sustainability standards.
3. This is the first time that Zebra has submitted any products for EPEAT validation**, so achieving a Silver rating is impressive. Especially against the 2019 standards. More importantly, the Silver rating demonstrates that Zebra is taking aggressive action to increase the energy efficiency, serviceability and overall sustainability of its next-generation rugged mobile computing technologies. The Zebra L10 product family meets the latest ENERGY STAR requirements and offers easy battery accessibility to allow for replacement (versus requiring entire device replacement, as even some Gold-rated tablets necessitate). Zebra also scored high for product longevity/life cycle extension and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as well as our substance control measures – all of which help to reduce the devices’ carbon footprints.
I do want to stress that, despite the clear product design strengths that helped us secure a Silver EPEAT rating today, Zebra is working diligently to achieve a Gold rating in the future. We will continue to evaluate our supply chain performance, CSR initiatives and materials selection strategy against strict sustainability goals and execute a continuous improvement plan in the coming months. As articulated on our CSR page: “We (Zebra) are committed to the protection of the environment” and “the reduction of environmental risks related to our operations.”
The EPEAT registration of our L10 rugged tablet portfolio is just one tool that we are using to remain accountable as we continue to expand the scope of our sustainability to benefit both people and the planet.
Editor’s Notes: Visit the EPEAT website to learn more about the positive impact made by EPEAT manufacturers such as Zebra, or to use the EPEATS environmental benefits calculator.
* Per EPEAT: “Bronze-rated products meet all of the required criteria in their category. Silver-rated products meet all of the required criteria and at least 50% of the optional criteria, while Gold-rated products meet all of the required criteria and at least 75% of the optional criteria.”
**Per the IEEE 1680.1-2018 standard, only mobile computing devices with a display greater than 6.5 inches are eligible to apply for EPEAT registration. Therefore, many Zebra products will not be found on the EPEAT registry. However, Zebra is focused on achieving high energy efficient standards across its product lines and employing sustainability practices in its global supply chain.