* Effort includes Wal-Mart, Best Buy, HP, Dell
* Aims to standardize environmental criteria
By Gabriel Madway
SAN FRANCISCO, Jan 21 Some of the biggest names
in technology and retailing are aiming to create what they say
is a better way to identify the "greenest" purchases in
The effort is being led by the industry-backed
Sustainability Consortium, which plans to develop standardized
criteria that will be used to label devices, starting with
computers and monitors.
The initiative includes retail giants Wal-Mart Stores Inc
(WMT.N) and Best Buy Co (BBY.N), and technology leaders
Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N), Dell Inc DELL.O, Intel Corp
(INTC.O) and Toshiba Corp (6502.T).
The effort is driven by a desire to find a common
measurement tool and bring consistency to an area where claims
are often difficult to measure.
"This is about making it easy for customers to determine
which products are green versus those that are not," said Scott
O'Connell, an environmental strategist at Dell.
Wal-Mart announced plans last summer to create an index
that could be used as an industry standard. The retailer
provided seed funding for the Sustainability Consortium.
Green has become an area of competition and bragging rights
for technology companies, with interest groups such Greenpeace
issuing periodic rankings.
"It's not a majority [of consumers] that buys on
environmental aspects but we believe that will come," said Jay
Celorie, program manager for social environmental
responsibility at HP.
The standards will also take into account broader social
criteria, such as labor conditions under which electronics are
manufactured. The effort will incorporate existing standards
such as Energy Star and the Electronic Product Environmental
Assessment Tool (EPEAT).
Initial results will be released in the third quarter. The
group plans to expand to cover more electronic goods later in
(Editing by Steve Orlofsky)