Apple and Philips share sustainability plans

Apple and Philips share sustainability plans

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The international Electronics Goes Green Conference 2020, hosted by the Fraunhofer Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM) in Germany,

The conference is the largest in the world to cover sustainability in electronics, and this year, the focus has been on sustainability.

“Green electronics can be integrated much more strongly into company processes and, above all, it can and must become more sustainable on a broad front more quickly,” said Technical Chair Nils F. Nissen from Fraunhofer. “Closed-loop recycling, resource efficiency and digitization are the approaches that can make relevant contributions to climate neutrality. And even if leading companies such as Apple will become climate-neutral for the entire life cycle of their equipment by 2030, there is still much to be done to make electronics really green.”

“Electronics Goes Green” is considered a trend barometer every four years. In 2008, the focus was on the latest legal requirements of the European Union directives aimed at reducing the environmental impact of the manufacture, use and recycling of electronic equipment. In 2012, the focus was on energy efficiency in addition to legal compliance. The fifth Electronics Goes Green 2016 focused more on repair and recycling companies, repair and high-quality closed-loop recycling (Circular Economy), because they ensure a longer product life and return materials to the production. Electronic products should remain in active use for as long as possible before material recycling.

This time the conference was virtual, with 120 recorded technical presentations, live keynotes from high-ranking environmental experts from Apple and Philips, six interactive sessions, and numerous networking options.

Sarah Chandler, Apple’s Senior Director of Environmental Initiatives, spoke about Apple’s roadmap until 2030 and presented the innovative approach to climate neutrality and the company’s circular supply chain Philips’ Senior Director Sustainability Eelco Smit opened the first part of the Live Day with his keynote on “Best practices in Sustainability – what can we learn?”

“Since the start of our conferences 20 years ago, there has been tremendous progress in terms of greater energy efficiency and less material used per function. The heterogeneous integration technologies of Fraunhofer IZM have helped to propel these gains, beyond the effects of Moore’s Law on the semiconductor side,” said Prof Martin Schneider-Ramelow, conference chair and Deputy Director of Fraunhofer IZM and a professor at TU Berlin.

“Still, the total environmental footprint of electronics keeps growing. So the need for more environmentally compatible electronics has not diminished, nor can we stop exploring ways to employ electronics where they can be most helpful for our environment,” he said.

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