‘Green’ Is Red-Hot

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Concern about the environment isn’t just for “tree-huggers” anymore.

The environment has begun to take center stage nationwide and worldwide in the past couple of years, with concerns about global warming, energy use, recycling, greater use worldwide of fossil fuels, and the abuse of natural resources gaining plenty of attention.

Last week during TWICE’s interview with Panasonic’s Joseph Taylor and at the CEA CEO Summit, the implications of this trend on the CE industry was front and center.

Of course, the analog TV turnoff of 2009 and the probable boom of HDTV sales should cause an avalanche of CRT TVs being disposed of, which is the first thing many think of when considering CE’s impact on the environment.

But there is more to it than that. CEA invited Dave Sherman of Blu Skye Sustainability Consulting to speak and the subject of his talk was “Green Will Change CE.” While we’ll have more on this talk here soon, Sherman outlined the challenges facing the CE industry in this new world and how Wal-Mart is taking a leadership role in going “green.”

In Taylor’s interview, which will appear in the July 2 print issue of TWICE and online the same day, he said, “We strongly support recycling. But we are concerned [in the United States that] there is no Federal mandate and that we are going state by state [with regulations].” He backs the California approach of charging consumers an upfront fee to handle the disposal of CE products.

During the CEA CEO Summit, Stan Glasgow, president/COO of Sony Electronics, echoed Taylor’s view and said, “It would be awfully nice to have a national program. State-by-state [environmental laws] are varied and difficult to work with. We need a national program like other countries.”

Stewart Muller, president/CEO of Philips Consumer Electronics NA, agreed that the California law is a good way to go. “A national program would be good, if it was fair and not crippling. I think consumers can handle a small tax to save the environment.”

Of course that tax would raise the price of every product sold by the CE industry. Did I just write higher prices in the same sentence with CE products?

Muller said that some states are putting the financial burden on the CE industry because they think “we are making money hand over fist.” While Muller said the industry “is playing a part in sustainability, with less packaging and the like” said with the thin margins in CE a fact of life, this industry should get a break from Congress if regulations become national. “Our business is big enough to get special treatment, like the tire [industry] that has special recycling rules.”

For what CEA’s views are on the subject, check www.mygreenelectronics.org. And Dave Graveline’s podcast today is called “Being Green Is Cool.” Check out Dave’s take on the issue and visit Fixingtheplanet.com, an environmental Web site he mentions.

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