Dell, Google, Others Join New Electronics Partnership to Develop Circular Economy

AJ Gonzalez | March 19, 2021

Environmental Leader,  

Top electronics companies, along with a slew of global organizations, have joined together to launch the Circular Electronics Partnership with a goal of developing a circular economy for electronics by 2030. The companies — including Cisco, Dell, Google, KPMG International, and others — represent nearly $6 trillion total market cap.

These companies have been brought together by organizations that include the Global Electronics Council, Global Enabling Sustainability Initiative, Platform for Accelerating the Circular Economy, Responsible Business Alliance, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the World Economic Forum.

The Circular Electronics Partnership (CEP) marks the first time experts, business leaders and global organizations will focus on solving the problem of e-waste.

E-waste is currently the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, estimated at nearly 50 million tons. Research finds that only 17.4% of e-waste is collected and recycled. This waste is worth at least $57 billion annually and offers a “unique opportunity for economic growth and resilience if handled correctly,” CEP says.

CEP’s vision will “maximize the value of components, products and materials through their full lifecycles using safe and fair labor and depending on only circular resources. These shifts will generate economic value while creating social and environmental impact.”

CEP says it will work to translate commitments into immediate actions, such as:

—Defining circular electronic product and services;
—Mobilizing a global, sustainable and circular procurement commitment;
—Developing a responsible recycling and circular material data system;
—Piloting two material track and trace projects;
—Developing commercial financing mechanisms for increased collection.

Along with the partnership, the group announces the launch of an action road map. This document identifies six pathways to circularity, focusing on different stages of the value chain to help businesses and partner organizations overcome barriers to circularity. The tasks outlined by the pathways include: Designing for circularity, driving demand for circular products and services, scaling responsible business models, increasing official collection rates, aggregating for reuse and recycling, and scaling secondary material markets.

“As applications scale, they should be circular in design, production, use and recovery to create a nature, climate and people positive value chain,” says Peter Bakker, president and CEO of the World Business Council and Sustainable Development.

In addition to Cisco, Dell, Google, and KPMG International, other member companies include: Accenture, Closing the Loop, Glencore, Lanxess, Security Matters, Sims Lifecycle Services and Vodafone.

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