Published on: 2011-04-22

Today the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and the Solving the E-Waste Problem (StEP) Initiative celebrate Earth Day by announcing a partnership to address the global challenge of electronic waste. This partnership highlights key 21st century aspects of Earth Day’s four decade long focus on accelerating a green economy and promoting environmental awareness.

Information communications technology (ICT) has tremendous potential to help businesses and societies to dramatically reduce their impact on the environment through solutions such as smarter grids, buildings, logistical systems, motors, and virtualization. As the ICT industry grows rapidly, retired handsets, servers, computers, and other Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) are entering the waste stream in countries across the world. GeSI aims to build capacity so that these products are disposed of responsibly and material is reused or recycled to the greatest extent possible.

The GeSI and StEP partnership will help build capacity in e-waste management especially in developing countries. In the latter part of this year GeSI and StEP will organise an “E-Waste Academy” to share existing knowledge and research into effective e-waste management and regulation with policy-makers, recyclers and other stakeholders from developing markets. We will also collaborate on research to identify key success factors for e-waste policy by developing an index for countries’ performance in this regard.

Luis Neves, Chairman of GeSI, commented on this partnership, “As we transition to a low carbon society, the rapid deployment of innovative ICT solutions is enabling all sectors of the economy to reduce their carbon emissions and impact on the environment. Our industry needs to ensure that these ICT products are disposed of in a responsible manner at their end of life. Our vision is for the sector to move from managing risks to encouraging more efficient use and more extensive re-use of e-waste. Our partnership with StEP will address the need to build capacity for e-waste management amongst all actors in the value chain so that e-waste is viewed as a valuable resource.”

Stephanie Adrian, Chair of the StEP Steering Committee, stated: “As global consumption of electronics grows exponentially, the role of StEP in bringing the various stakeholders together to address e-waste becomes even more paramount. Together with GeSI, StEP has the opportunity to draw on their realm of expertise in a way that reaches both developed and developing countries, and grows the global capacity to develop practicable but science-based solutions to the e-waste problem.”

Through this collaboration, GeSI and StEP will promote more sustainable societies and help to fulfill the values of Earth Day which began 41 years ago.

Download the press release.

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