October 10, 2011
Environmental considerations and sustainability issues have long been a part of business metrics and corporate image. The environmental impacts of business first began to be seriously quantified and mitigated in the 1970s, and compliance with government environmental regulations is now accepted as a cost of doing business. More recently, however, sustainability is in transition as a concept and a measure of corporate performance. Today, the business risks of out-of-control global supply chains have increased significantly even as the personal commitment to implementing sustainable business practices has risen among many corporate executives. According to a recent report from Pike Research, sustainability is growing in importance among electronics companies, particularly those that compete in the consumer electronics sectors.
Applying a unique index of corporate social responsibility (CSR) based on company-generated reports and metrics, the cleantech market intelligence firm finds that companies like IBM, HP, Apple, and Texas Instruments achieved the highest levels of completeness, transparency, and reported results.
“In general, the closer the company’s business is related to consumer electronics, the higher its CSR score,” says Pike Research president Clint Wheelock. “Many of the largest companies in the sector are in the midst of adopting or improving sustainability practices in their new product lifecycles to include a greater focus on more sustainable design, manufacturing, distribution, use, and end-of-life management.”
Nevertheless, the subject remains a delicate one: Less than 10% of the companies contacted by Pike Research for an interview related to sustainable design were willing to talk about their processes. In addition, many issues integral to a holistic view of CSR, such as the social and environmental impacts of the extraction of basic raw materials feedstocks (e.g., mining of metal ores or refining of crude oil), remain to be addressed. Regardless, Pike Research’s analysis finds that electronics suppliers and manufacturers have relatively advanced understandings of CSR, compared to other sectors, and that sustainability is evolving from a program or a process to a corporate culture.
Pike Research’s report, “Sustainable Electronics Design”, provides a comprehensive examination of sustainability trends in electronics design and manufacturing across major industry categories including computers, peripherals, and office equipment; networks, enterprise computing, and servers; telecommunications and broadcasters; semiconductors and components; home entertainment; and electronics wholesalers. The study assesses and ranks the sustainability initiatives of major electronics manufacturers, and includes forecasts of the impact of sustainable practices, both in terms of unit shipments and revenue, through 2015. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.navigantresearch.com or call +1.303.997.7609.