Five Stars for @Emerging_Green
Five Stars for @Emerging_Green
I live at the intersection of Sustainability and Electronics. From the moment I learned that the Green Electronics Council (GEC) was producing its first conference, I was excited. Though I’ve attended a fair number of sustainability events, and have produced even more, this is the first conference that squarely addressed the whole of the electronics life cycle. GEC brought together leaders from around the globe and provided very rich, deep content that gave everyone I spoke with that “I’m learning so much” enthusiasm. I met folks I’ve only known over the phone for many years, and I met folks I’ll call friends going forward. Here a few of the highlights, in order of their appearance.
Dr. Chandrakant Patel, HP Senior Fellow and Chief Engineer at HP Labs in Palo Alto, was one of the opening keynote speakers. His plea for a more holistic approach to the issues of sustainability hit the nail on the head, and his suggested framework of using joules (a derived unit of energy) as a more accurate metric for reflecting real value deserves serious attention. It was a great note to sound for a conference focused on electronics and the circular economy.
The band 3 Leg Torso accompanied the most enjoyable awards dinner I’ve ever attended. Dinner keynote Andrew Winston eloquently delivered dramatic details of our condition: last year China built new office space equivalent to 30 Manhattans; Australia had to change its climate maps to reflect temperatures approaching 130°F; radical technology-driven transparency means customers decide what the standards are. And Paul Anastas, known as the father of green chemistry, pushed an already great evening over the top.
Wednesday’s lunch featured a great “fireside” chat with Facebook’s Director of Sustainability, Bill Weihl. His “Sustainable Infrastructure at Scale” talk led straight into a spirited discussion of “Strategies for Greener Data Centers and Clouds.” I want to thank the terrific panelists who made up this very “cool” session: Herb Zien, CEO, LiquidCool Solutions; Nicole Peill-Moelter, Senior Director of Environmental Sustainability, Akamai Technologies; George Goodman, Executive Director, Open Data Center Alliance; Jakob Carnemark, CEO, Aligned Energy; Grant Gordon, Chief Operating Officer, DeepWater Desal; and Julie Sinistore, Senior Consultant, thinkstep.
I’m very appreciative of the folks who came from the UN University – not only for their contributions to the conference, but also for ongoing contributions to our industry and their groundbreaking research on e-waste. UN University, Jaco Huisman; WorldLoop’s Barbara Toorens; and Arrow Electronics’ Scott Venhaus delved into the challenges and opportunities of e-waste in emerging economies. Spoiler alert: so much e-waste is being generated in developing countries that we need to rethink some of the policies that may have helped in the past but that are now proving detrimental.
Andrew Winston’s comment that it’s the customers who actually set the bar for corporations and products was expanded upon in the Compliance in Tomorrow’s (Brave New) World session with Compliance & Risks’ Paul McGovern, Geoffrey Bock of TUV Rheinland of North America, and Mark Rossolo of UL Environment. You’ll want to check out these presentations when they become available.
And a very big thank-you goes to Jeff Omelchuck and Jonas Allen of the Green Electronics Council. This conference truly struck a chord.
If I failed to mention something great, please drop me a note to remind me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I expect I’ll be expanding on many of the conversations that were begun in Portland in blogs to come.
Carol Baroudi works for Arrow’s Value Recovery business, promoting sustainability awareness and action. She is the lead author of Green IT For Dummies. Her particular focus is on electronics at the IT asset disposition stage, e-waste, and everything connected. Follow her on Twitter @carol_baroudi and connect with her on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carolbaroudi.