The city authorities of San Francisco have banned departmental purchases of Apple hardware after Cupertino dropped out of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) green-standards scheme.
"We are disappointed that Apple chose to withdraw from EPEAT," Melanie Nutter, director of San Francisco's Department of Environment, told The Wall Street Journal, "and we hope that the city saying it will not buy Apple products will make Apple reconsider its participation."
City government departments are only part of the deal. Local educational facilities – a sector in which Cupertino is dominant – also require EPEAT classification, and will likely end up boycotting Apple products, as well.
But in the greater scheme of things, the likely effect on the stock market's most valuable company will be negligible for the moment.
"In terms of purchasing power it's just a drop in the bucket," Chris Geiger, manager of green purchasing at San Francisco's Department of Environment, told the WSJ. "But there are a lot of cities and counties who will do what San Francisco does."
If those who have signed up to the EPEAT scheme live up to their promises, Apple could be facing a much larger sales hit. The US Department of Defense, NASA, and Homeland Security all require EPEAT certification, as do the governments of Canada, Australia, and New Zealand for IT purchases.
Apple pulled out of the EPEAT scheme after the launch of its latest MacBook line. The design has both the battery and the screen glued into the case, making the components impossible to recycle economically. Apple is a contributing member of the EPEAT standard, but requested that its laptop lines (the iPhone and iPad never got accreditation) be withdrawn.
"We regret that Apple will no longer be registering its products in EPEAT," said the organization in a statement. "We hope that they will decide to do so again at some point in future." ®