FORTUNE — “We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.” (emphasis ours)
The boldface sentence above — taken from an open letter posted on Apple’s AAPL website by hardware chief Bob Mansfield — is something you don’t often hear from Apple. In fact, I don’t remember ever hearing it before.
No big deal, right? When it comes to electronics manufacturers, Apple is still about as green as them come.
The problem is that a lot of schools, businesses and government agencies insist that their IT departments purchase only EPEAT-certified computers — a point that was driven home earlier this week when the city of San Francisco announced that had stopped buying Macs.
The move seemed self-inflicted. All 39 products still comply with EPEAT’s standards. The outlier was the new MacBook Pro, whose batteries are glued to the frame and not removable with ordinary tools, as required by EPEAT. Moreover, Apple sits on some of the working groups that are trying to bring the standards up to date. (See here.)
Without explaining how this happened or who screwed up, the company has now reversed itself and put those 39 products back on the EPEAT registry.
It may be telling that the letter that admitted it was all a “mistake” was signed by the only Apple senior vice president whose retirement has already been announced.