The Consumer Electronics Association has released the CEA 2010 Sustainability Report to highlight the progress the industry has made in its green initiatives, from designing more energy efficient products to cutting greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) at facilities, to developing a national electronics recycling infrastructure.
The report, an update to CEA’s first-ever sustainability report in 2008, tracks the industry’s green efforts throughout a CE product’s entire lifecycle. It contains 21 separate case studies from a variety of CE companies illustrating progress in their environmental efforts. The report further provides transparency on green practices across the industry.
“The consumer electronics industry is committed to greening its products and practices for the benefit of consumers, communities and the overall environment,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “In the past three years, we’ve made great strides in our environmental efforts, by creating more green products, improving energy efficiency and deepening our commitment to electronics recycling. We know there is work remaining, and we will press forward with these initiatives in 2011 and beyond.”
Following are some highlights of environmental progress evidenced in the report:
Greener designs: Industry-wide unit sales of U.S. products registered with EPEAT (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool) grew by 10 percent in 2009, to a total of 48.5 million products. Individual companies also made noteworthy milestones in green design. One manufacturer, for instance, conducted a comprehensive life cycle analysis for every product it ships to determine where greenhouse gases are created. After discovering 97 percent of the emission derived from manufacturing and product use, the company focused on designing new products that use less material, smaller packaging, and are as energy efficient and recyclable as possible.
Green packaging: Many consumer electronics companies are switching to renewable materials, including bio-based plastics, or recyclable materials instead of clamshell packaging and are looking to reduce the amount of packaging they use. For instance, one video service provider consolidated its shipments and decreased its use of cartons by more than one million in 2009 — a 75 percent reduction from the previous year. In 2011, all of the providers’ products will be packed with 100 percent recyclable materials.
More efficient facilities: Many manufacturers have set ambitious goals for reducing GHG at their facilities. Meanwhile, other companies have launched efforts to cut power consumption at their data centers.
More energy efficient products: According to the EPA, 27,000 CE product models currently meet ENERGY STAR specifications. The average energy savings of ENERGY STAR electronics devices range from 20 to 55 percent. An example of this progress is one semiconductor design company created a chip that can reduce its GHG by up to 40 percent by combining the processing and graphics processing units and the Northbridge chipset onto a single chip.
eCycling: The consumer electronics industry recycled 200 million pounds in 2009, and industry supports more than 5,000 permanent collection sites nationwide. Some examples of these efforts include one CE retailer collecting 100 million pounds at its 1,200 U.S. locations and one computer manufacturer operating an eCycling program at more than 2,200 U.S. Goodwill sites.
“The CE industry’s commitment to sustainability is unmistakable,” said Walter Alcorn, CEA’s vice president of environmental affairs and industry sustainability. “More and more, our member companies are finding what makes good environmental sense also makes good business sense in the form of reduced costs and invigorated employees. Our sustainability efforts will continue in earnest this year, and CEA will continue to provide the resources to member companies to help bolster these initiatives.”
The full report is available at www.CE.org/green.