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Recent research suggests most technology buyers want products with as little impact on the environment as possible, but are not sure how to satisfy themselves that their choices meet this goal.

The nonprofit Green Electronics Council is doing its best to take this mystery out of the buying process by rating products to meet 51 environmental criteria. And now the organization, which runs, has launched a program targeting IT solution providers interested in selling those products.

Participating solution providers commit to linking their product catalogs to the EPEAT database so buyers can see which products meet the environmental credentials set by the organization, says Sarah O’Brien, EPEAT’s outreach director.

Providers also gain access to an EPEAT logo for display on their Web sites, O’Brien says.

“The launch of EPEAT’s Reseller Partner Program enables us to support resellers who are being approached for EPEAT assistance and need orientation and ongoing support for their sales force,” O’Brien says.

EPEAT maintains a database of more than 1,000 products, which are rated on their environmental merits and ranked as Bronze, Silver or Gold. EPEAT takes into account 51 criteria, such as reduced levels of hazardous materials, amount of renewable materials and recycled content. The products also meet U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star standards.

The EPEAT Reseller Partner program comes amid growing evidence that buyers want products that qualify as a “green.” In September a study by Hansa GCR found that 92 percent of 1,200 consumers in households of at least $50,000 said the environment is a factor in buying technology products. Sixty-four percent said the environment is a primary consideration. The study also found that 64 percent of business decision makers agree that being perceived as green helps their company brand.

This month, the Consumer Electronics Association released a study in which 74 percent of consumers said they want companies to do more to protect the environment.

Both studies also indicated that buyers aren’t quite sure which products qualify as green, which is creating some confusion in the market.

In the IT channel, efforts are well under way to address the confusion. Distributors Ingram Micro, Synnex and Tech Data have partnered with EPEAT to use the product ratings in their own catalogs.