Global Impact of Sustainable Electronics Design

Research suggests that design decisions are the dominant factor in the sustainability of e-gear.

The 2018 paper Creating sustainable smartphones: Scaling up best practice to achieve SDG 12 offers this insight. "The design phase is the overarching step that plays a crucial role in achieving greater sustainability of any product or service. Research shows that the design phase may determine as much as 80% of the environmental impact of a product with important choices affecting environmental, social and economic sustainability being made. These include, but are not limited to, the selection of materials, decisions on the computing power of the devices and subsequently on the type of components used, reparability or replaceability of components and the recyclability of materials."


Pike Research's Sustainable Electronics Design report forecasts that "while sustainability efforts are already impacting the shipment of approximately 68 billion electronic product units as of 2010, this number will increase by more than 50% to 103 billion units by 2015."

The author notes that "sustainability initiatives have the greatest influence in the semiconductor and component sector, which represents more than 95% of total unit volumes in the electronics industry. However, in terms of impact on overall electronics revenue, the largest category is in the computers, peripherals, and office equipment sector, in which the impact on total product revenues will surpass $1 trillion in 2011. The computing industry is also the sector with the highest percentage impact of sustainability programs on their total business."

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