23 March 2021

New green purchasing criteria for computers, monitors, tablets and smartphones

On 5 March, the European Commission published new guidance for purchases of computers, monitors, tablets and smartphones. The guidance - in the form of EU Green Public Procurement (GPP) criteria – is an update and extension of the previous GPP criteria (from 2016), which covered just computers and monitors. Addressing the most significant environmental impacts during the life cycles of these products is the primary focus of the new EU GPP criteria. As such, these are structured into four areas: product lifetime extension, energy consumption, hazardous substances and end-of-life management. A further category of criteria that apply to separate procurements for refurbished/remanufactured devices and related services is also included.

The new criteria provide recommendations for both stationary devices (desktop computers, all-in-one computers, thin clients and workstations; and monitors) and mobile devices (portable computers, tablets and smartphones) and are split into two groups of criteria: core (designed to allow for easy application) and comprehensive (which enable higher environmental performance). The criteria pay specific attention to extending a product’s lifetime through improved durability, upgradeability and reparability indirectly extending the lifetime of products by facilitating re-use, and thus avoiding (or minimising) the environmental impacts associated with primary production and resource extraction.

The criteria are currently available in English, with translations into the other official EU languages to follow soon.