Latin America. Seven United Nations agencies are collaborating, with support from the World Economic Forum and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), to request a review of the system currently governing the electronics sector, in order to endorse international efforts to address the challenges posed by electronic waste.

The report calls for systematic collaboration with leading manufacturers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the academic sector, trade unions, society and various associations in the framework of a deliberative process to reorient such system and reduce amount of electronic waste that is generated each year, whose economic value exceeds the GDP of most countries.

Approximately 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste (cyber waste) are discarded each year, whose total weight is higher than that of all commercial airplanes manufactured so far. Its economic value is 62.500 million dollars, higher than the GDP of most countries.

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Less than 20% of that amount of waste is officially recycled. Millions of people work worldwide (more than 600.000 only in China) in an informal way in waste disposal of electronic waste, in most cases in working conditions that adversely affect both human health and the environment.

In the report "A New Circular Vision for Electronics - Time for a Global Reboot", presented in Davos, it is pointed out that cloud computing and the Internet of Things (IoT), among other technologies, facilitate the gradual "dematerialization" of the electronic industry.

On the other hand, in order to take advantage of the economic value of electronic waste materials and promote circular value chains worldwide, the report also focuses on the use of new technologies to promote business models based on services, as well as to improve the monitoring of the products and the programs of manufacturers or retailers destined to the recovery of products.

The report shows that the efficiency of the materials, the recycling infrastructures and the increase in the quantity and quality of the recycled materials according to the needs of the supply chains of electronic products will be fundamental for the activities of production in the future.

If the electronics sector is fostered on the basis of a relevant set of policies and is managed properly, millions of decent jobs could be created around the world.

The joint report calls for collaboration with multinationals, SMEs, entrepreneurs, academic institutions, trade unions, society and various associations in order to promote a circular economy in the electronics sector, which foresees the volume of waste, reduce its environmental impact and create decent work for millions of people.

Richard Santa, RAVT
Author: Richard Santa, RAVT
Editor
Journalist from the University of Antioquia (2010), with experience in technology and economics. Editor of the magazines TVyVideo + Radio and AVI Latin America. Academic Coordinator of TecnoTelevisión & Radio.

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