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Tackling Sustainability Policy at the 2014 International CES

Samantha Nevels, Consumer Technology Association
The 2014 International CES showcased the latest technologies and devices transforming the way we learn and connect with the world. From solar cars to home automation systems, green and sustainable products continue to have a defining presence.
E-Waste Panelists (L to R): Beth Johnson, manager, U.S. Takeback and Producer Responsibility Programs, Dell Inc.; Barbara Kyle, national coordinator, Electronics TakeBack Coalition; Wendy Okazaki, recycling coordinator, Solid and Hazardous Waste Branch, Hawaii Department of Health; Jason Linnell, executive director, National Center for Electronics Recycling; David Thompson, director, Corporate Environmental Department, Panasonic Corp. of North America and Jerry Powell, executive editor, E-Scrap News
CEA also hosted policy forums focused on e-waste and energy efficiency. Both were well attended, and lively discussions emerged on the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.
Regarding e-waste, Beth Johnson with Dell commented that recycling electronics is a journey rather than a destination, which had people on the dais and audience nodding in agreement. Dell was the first company to cumulatively recycle a billion pounds of electronics and is on pace to reach its goal of two billion pounds by 2020.
The panelists agreed that convenience, marketing and education are key to changing consumer behavior. And CEA’s was lauded as an excellent resource to help consumers live green, buy green and recycle responsibly.
The second panel focused on what was coined as the “essential question” – how do you deliver energy efficiency without stifling innovation? All agreed that the industry has made great strides but questions remain about the best approach when product convergence, rapid innovation and a global marketplace make a traditional regulatory approach inappropriate. California Assembly member Steven Bradford commented that policy makers should set goals and then get out of the way to allow the industry to determine the best approaches.
Energy Efficiency Panelists (L to R): The Honorable Steven Bradford, assembly member and chair, Utilities and Commerce Committee, California State Assembly; Paul Glist, partner, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP; Jonathan Levy, deputy chief of staff, U.S. Department of Energy; Ken Lowe, vice president and co-founder, VIZIO; Doug Johnson, vice president, technology policy, CEA; and Anthony Fryer, senior analyst, Appliance Standards Awareness Project.
The discussion transitioned to the recent voluntary Set-Top Box Energy Conservation Agreement, as it illustrates the power of private sector initiatives to meet national goals while saving energy and money for consumers. Developed through a voluntary agreement between the pay-TV industry, the consumer electronics industry and energy efficiency advocates, the agreement now in effect will improve set-top box efficiency by 10 to 45 percent (depending on box type) by 2017. The measures are expected to save more than $1 billion on consumer energy bills annually for 90 million Americans.
For more information, please view the 2014 CES Green Guide, the CEA 2013 Sustainability Report and You can also view the e-waste and energy efficiency panels at: