EcoGuide IT contains assessments on the sustainable and technical performance of thousands of IT products. The interactive platform allows consumers to easily compare options in order to make an informed decision when purchasing electronics.
We tend to take several technical and financial factors into account when purchasing a new computer or printer: price, quality, durability, usability, etc. But how often do we consider the impact our IT equipment has on the planet? Probably not as much as we should. Most of the time, it is because of the lack of information on this topic.
GreenFlex, a French independent environmental consultancy, aims to solve this problem with an online, user-friendly guide. EcoGuide IT is an interactive tool that allows users to quickly determine the most sustainable option for a piece of IT equipment. The database features eleven different categories of equipment: laptops, printers, tablets, servers, and many more. According to GreenFlex, the assessments are “free of charge, neutral and independent”.
The consultancy used three groups of criteria to determine the overall sustainability of individual products: life cycle impact, energy consumption of the product, and corporate social responsibility (CSR) of the manufacturer. The three scores were weighed differently depending on the nature of the product. For example, energy consumption accounts for 60 percent of the final grade of laser printers, while it only makes up 15 percent of the final score of telephones. The detailed weighing table can be viewed in EcoGuide IT’s methodology page.
EcoGuide IT currently contains 3,170 listings, including ratings for no less than 784 different laptops and 581 laser printers. Fifty new products are added to the website every month. The latest ratings are always displayed on the homepage.
On the website, the user can search for a specific product or select a category of IT equipment. The second option redirects them to a page ranking all the products from that category. For each product, the user sees the price range and the GreenFlex grade (a letter grade, with A+ being the best grade). The user also sees the grade broken down into the three categories of the assessment: CSR note, Life Cycle note and Energy note. This gives them more detailed insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the product.
The user can decide to rank the products based on any of these four grades. In addition, the search box at the top allows them to search for specific brands of filter the products by price or size. When the user selects a product, they get a detailed fact sheet explaining the grade for each of the three categories in addition to providing the usual technical specifications that would be found in an electronics store.
For each product, the user has the option to “add to comparator” with the simple click of a button. In the comparator, the user will see a side-by-side comparison of all the selected products with all detailed information for each of them. This allows for an easy comparison of two or more products in regard to not only environmental performance, but also price and technical specifications.
EcoGuide IT is available for free in English, French, Spanish and Italian. In addition to the product assessments, the website provides practical tips to use and dispose of IT equipment sustainably.