CES 2012: CEA Donates $75,000 to Local Las Vegas Sustainability Organizations

© Jaymi Heimbuch

I am on my way to CES for the annual dose of what's new for green gadgetry and I wanted to start the flood of posts with this press release from the Consumer Electronics Association.


Las Vegas, Nv., January 9, 2011 –The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, owner and producer of the International CES, today announced a total of $75,000 in donations to Green Chips and Repurpose AMERICA, local Las Vegas nonprofit organizations advancing clean energy and minimizing waste.

This is quite a donation. Green Chips is a local charity that supports solar panel installations among other sustainability initiatives. Repurpose AMERICA is an organization that is signed on for collecting and reusing materials from the show. Last year the captured for reuse "about 18,000 pounds of magnetic signs, nearly 15,000 square feet of banner signs and more than 150 foam boards (three feet by eight feet)." So a donation to these two organizations is an applause-worthy move.

However another press release states:

Las Vegas, Nev., January 9, 2012 – With more than 100 products introduced at the CES Unveiled event last night and press day opening today, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)® announces that the 2012 International CES will be the association’s second largest show in history when show floor opens on Tuesday.

Also, CEA "is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $190 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry." With 2,700 3,100 exhibitors across 1.85 million net square feet of exhibit space, and an estimated 140,000 people attending the show, would it be possible for CEA to donate a significantly larger chunk of change to more organizations? Yep, probably. But more importantly, if CEA is committed to making sustainability at CES a priority, I have another suggestion: move the Sustainable Planet TechZone back into the conference center (it was moved this year to the Venetian which is a seriously disheartening move) and put it center stage. Give companies focused on green(er) electronics a real platform.

Last year I asked if the Sustainable Planet TechZone should just disappear as it was so small and pathetic. It made green look cheesy. What I really was hoping for is that green could be integrated into the show, that it could be mainstreamed, so to speak. However, a worse move has been made with sending the zone off to the Venetian.

As Jeff Crystal of Voltaic Systems told me earlier this week, "We have had success in the past in the Sustainable Tech Zone in large part because it was in the South Hall and we got a lot of foot traffic that otherwise would not have seen us. When they moved the Sustainable Tech Zone to the Venetian, we lost interest in exhibiting. CES is a big investment in time and resources and it felt like they were pushing aside the sustainable products companies. The economics just didn't work out."

So not only is the zone out of the way, but exhibitors are dropping out altogether. That is bad news for green.

“CES is committed to sustainability, and we are extremely proud that these donations will help the environment and the Las Vegas community through the efforts of Green Chips and Repurpose AMERICA,” said Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of CEA. “CES is a tremendously successful event thanks to the great people and facilities of Las Vegas, and we’re pleased to make this investment in sustainability to demonstrate our commitment to this great city.”

Indeed, we are very glad that there is some effort on the part of CEA to keep the conference green and that donations have been made. However, actions can speak louder. The organization could give up some funds in income from exhibitors and donate space to making the Sustainable Planet TechZone something special and something that more people will see even if it is by accident. That would show CEA putting real effort into green at CES.

I'm going to keep digging to find out why the zone was moved, but I'm hoping that next year we will see it be put in a place of priority.

A whole lot more is to come, including loads of posts about green gadgets so stay tuned!! Follow the CES tag for more.

Tags: CES | Electronics | Gadgets

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