Barton Finn, TCO Development presented TCO Certified, the global independent sustainability certification addressing social and environmental responsibility of workplace and data centre related IT products. TCO Development considers that “negative/restrictive lists” have proven to be ineffective in driving the transition to safer chemicals, because only a very small number of chemicals are properly assessed/banned and because substitutes with potentially similar or even worse impacts for human health and the environment are able to be used as the replacement. TCO therefore launched in 2015 the TCO Certified Accepted Substance list (ASL), a public “positive list” of safer alternative flame retardants which today includes 22 PIN FRs (see pinfa Newsletter n°136). This means that all potential alternatives to restricted substances and banned until they are independently proven to be safer and placed on the ASL. Presently half of these listed FRs have achieved a GreenScreen benchmark 3 and half a GreenScreen benchmark 2. TCO Certified does not accept GS benchmark 1 or U (unspecified). A manufacturer wishing to obtain TCO Certified must use only chemicals shown on the ASL. In the current generation of TCO Certified, for flame retardants, this concerns product plastic housing parts > 0.5 g and the main power printed circuit board (PCB). However, for the next generation in 2024, it is under consideration to extend this FR mandate to include power cables and all PCBs in the product. The ASL also covers safer alternative plasticisers used in all product wires & cables and plastic parts, and cleaning solvents used during the manufacturing of the product. TCO uses the CEPN (Green America Center for Sustainability Solutions) chemical data collection tool to monitor chemicals used in IT production factories. GreenScreen assessments are paid by those suppliers with the greatest interest in seeing a chemical added to the ASL so they may continue to use it in products and during production. The list is made public to share information and provide guidance to use the available safer alternatives and avoid the regrettable substitution caused by restricted substance lists.
Barton Finn, TCO Development
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