TCO Goes CE
Friday 16th April 2010
TCO Goes CE
Exclusive Interview with Niclas Rydell, TCO Product Director
We have all seen the little TCO sticker on PC screens, and many consumers today still wonder what that mean. Since 1992, a total of approximately 70 different brands have had the TCO label applied to one or more of their products, and at present, around half of all displays in the world are TCO-labelled.
The organisation is today expanding its horizons, branching out into TV and other consumer electronics fields. We spoke to TCO Product Director, Niclas Rydell, on the organisation’s ambitions in the market.
What would you say TCO certified means to someone today?
People have the security in knowing that the product has been validated by a third party for both environmental and usability aspects. We don’t sacrifice usability aspects to gain environmental aspects and vice versa. It’s very easy to make a product that has low energy consumption, if you take away two of four light bulbs and then you run the other two a little more, you get a display that is either not bright enough, or you get a display that is bright enough but it has bad luminance uniformity and in that way you get a display that fulfils environmental expectations, but it’s not usable… it doesn’t give a good picture quality. So we don’t want to sacrifice any of those two parts. The person or organisation that requests TCO labelled products will have the security of knowing that the product has been tested and verified by a third party for both usability and environmental aspects.
Is it a very big investment for the brand to obtain TCO certification?
Not so much. TCO testing is normally very quick and efficient compared to other safety testing. So you can do the testing in as little as two days, and get the certificate in another three or four days. You can basically certify a product in a week if you’re really in a hurry.
In the past, the first companies who were able to get TCO certification were European and Japanese companies, then the Koreans were able to get it, what about Chinese companies? Yes, Lenovo for example. Most of the manufacturers who are TCO certified are based in China or Taiwan. They manufacture products for different European and US brands. If they obtain certification, and if they only change the brand name on a device, and nothing else is changed, they don’t have to test it again. There are other brands like Benq, Samsung but most of the manufacturing is done in Asia.
Pricewise, are TCO certified monitors more expensive than the others?
No, actually not. It’s not normally more expensive. Which I think is something really interesting, because consumers don’t know so much about the TCO label yet. We haven’t focused on explaining so much for the consumers. If you are a consumer, if you want to sure that you are buying a good product, you read the spec. before you pick the product. But if you want to take one more step, you have to get it tested by a third party, which has an accredited laboratory with instrumentation that is traceable back to national standards as well. That’s what the TCO label is about.