Caution: Green Zone Ahead

If you have gotten past the headline of this article, you are either a diehard environmentalist who will read anything about “going green,” or someone like me who is hoping to hear something different about this whole green movement.

Green is good. I don't think anyone would disagree. I think it is time to get beyond the discussion of why green is good and focus more on making it easier for members of the supply chain — big and small — to optimize the environmental benefits of our products and processes, while at the same time creating a sustainable and profitable growth model.

Advanced technologies in both semiconductor and passives that are both “green” and cost competitive have equipped OEM engineers with the tools to take eco-design beyond power management. Today's engineers must recognize that power consumption is only a part of the problem, and therefore power reduction is only a part of the solution. An environmentally optimized design calls for a systems-level approach. This includes the use of fewer and more eco-friendly components, as well as maximizing product longevity and considering the eventual reusability and recyclability of the end product.

Responsible disposal of electronic products and consumer electronics through reverse logistics/aftermarket services such as those offered by {complink 577|Avnet Inc.} serves two equally critical functions in the supply chain — to keep products out of landfills where contaminants may leach into the soil and ground water, and to prevent illegal reclamation and resale of used or defective parts.

It is important to understand that going green is a multi-dimensional commitment, and a journey that must be carried out in steps — sometimes the steps are small, sometimes they are giant leaps. Component obsolescence can be the death knell for an OEM end product. Distributors like Avnet can help keep products in service, and out of landfills, through a variety of solutions, including end-of-life solutions and product replacements.

In addition, technology like light emitting diodes (LEDs) has enabled some OEMs to dramatically increase the power efficiency of an end product, while greatly decreasing its adverse environmental impact. According to the US Department of Energy, 22 percent of electricity used in the country powers lighting. Within 20 years, the conversion to LEDs could reduce electricity demands from lighting by 62 percent, eliminate 258 million metric tons of carbon emissions, and lead to financial savings exceeding $280 billion.

The green movement is not just about pioneering technologies, building a positive public image, improving the bottom line, or even “doing the right thing.” It's all of the above. When state-of-the-art electronic products are energy efficient, environmentally sustainable, and cost effective, everyone wins.

To learn more about Avnet's multi-pronged sustainability efforts, click here.

4 comments on “Caution: Green Zone Ahead

  1. Ariella
    August 7, 2012

    Those are pretty impressive numbers, and a bit of bright news for a change.

  2. Eldredge
    August 7, 2012

    I am looking forward to seeing LED lighting as a cost effecive alternative to the other options that are currently in use.

  3. prabhakar_deosthali
    August 8, 2012

    The true green zone in electronics will become reality only when we have all the lectronic componentsand PCBs made from bio-degradable material.

    The material science has to play a very important role in this process

  4. stochastic excursion
    August 9, 2012

    Looking at the eco-footprint of mass-produced goods can reveal lots of room for improvement.  Sometimes though it seems like improving one green benchmark leads to a heavier burden on natural resources in some other aspect of the product.  Still, these steps are important to take, hopefully strengthening the commitment to get more bang out of our non-renewable resources buck.

    A positive impact of on-shoring is worth thinking about, and that's reducing the amount of energy consumed maintaining a global supply network with the giant container ships currently in use.  If greener is really the direction of progress, then the local hub model of global production seems to be a good contribution. On the other hand maybe worth revisiting putting merchant ships under sail…

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