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San Francisco officials to abandon Apple devices over environmental concerns

San Francisco may ban local government agencies and municipal officials from purchasing new Apple computers, a drastic step that others may follow. The decision comes after it was revealed Apple was withdrawing its line of products from the EPEAT green hardware certification scheme.

The city, which is known for having environmentally responsible leanings, has long followed a policy of purchasing EPEAT-rated IT equipment, San Francisco’s chief information officer Jon Walton told the BBC.

"San Francisco has reached out to Apple and is hopeful that a solution to this challenge can be found in the future," said Walton.

Some reports suggest Apple may have dropped the EPEAT standard in anticipation of new hardware designs that would clash with the registry’s criteria. And the company does not appear likely to change its mind.

"Apple takes a comprehensive approach to measuring our environmental impact and all of our products meet the strictest energy efficiency standards backed by the US government," said a spokesperson.

"We also lead the industry by reporting each product's greenhouse gas emissions on our website, and Apple products are superior in other important environmental areas not measured by EPEAT, such as removal of toxic materials."

San Francisco spent just over $45,000 (£29,000) on Apple devices in 2010. The figure is a negligible fraction of Apple’s $65 billion (£41.7 billion) in sales that year, but the possible ban holds symbolic significance nonetheless, especially if other municipalities and institutions follow suit.