17 Apr 2023

Environmental impact of India's 1.3bn population and growing consumer electronics market

The consumer electronics industry is a rapidly growing sector both globally and in India alone.

A report by the India Brand Equity Foundation reveals the consumer electronics market in India was valued at $13.8 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.5% between 2021 and 2026.

The consumer electronics industry in India is primarily driven by the growing demand for smartphones, televisions, laptops, and other electronic devices. In 2020, India’s smartphone sales reached a record 150 million units, making it the second-largest smartphone market in the world after China. The increasing demand for electronic devices is fueled by a variety of factors, including rising disposable incomes, growing urbanization, and the availability of affordable devices in the market. As a result, the consumer electronics market in India is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.

However, the rapid growth of the consumer electronics industry has also raised concerns about its impact on the environment. Electronic devices require energy to manufacture and operate, and their disposal can lead to environmental pollution. According to a report by the United Nations University, India generated 2 million metric tons of electronic waste in 2016, and this figure is expected to reach 5.2 million metric tons by 2025.

The production of electronic devices also contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. According to a report by the International Energy Agency, the global energy consumption of electronic devices and networks grew by 4% in 2019, accounting for around 1% of total global electricity consumption. The report also estimates that the energy consumption of these devices and networks will continue to grow, driven by the increasing use of data centres and cloud services.

To mitigate the impact of the consumer electronics industry on the environment, various initiatives have been taken by the Indian government and industry players.

Firstly, the Indian government has introduced several policies and regulations to address the environmental impact of the consumer electronics industry. One such policy is the E-waste Management Rules, which aim to regulate the disposal of electronic waste and promote recycling. The rules require electronic waste to be collected and recycled by authorised recycling facilities, and they also require manufacturers to collect and dispose of e-waste generated by their products.

In addition to the E-waste Management Rules, the Indian government has also launched several other initiatives to promote sustainable practices in the industry. For example, the government has introduced the National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage to promote the use of advanced battery technologies in the country. The program aims to reduce the environmental impact of battery manufacturing and disposal by promoting recycling and developing sustainable battery technologies.

Industry players in India have also taken initiatives to promote sustainable practices in the consumer electronics industry. One such initiative is eco-design programs, which aim to reduce the environmental impact of electronic devices throughout their lifecycle. Eco-design involves designing products with the environment in mind, such as using materials that are easily recyclable or reducing the energy consumption of devices.

In addition to eco-design, industry players have also launched initiatives to promote recycling and responsible disposal of electronic waste. For example, some manufacturers have set up e-waste collection centres to encourage consumers to dispose of their electronic waste in a responsible manner.

Overall, the Indian government and industry players have taken several initiatives to mitigate the impact of the consumer electronics industry on the environment. These initiatives aim to promote sustainable practices such as recycling, responsible disposal, and eco-design, and they are crucial in ensuring that the growth of the consumer electronics industry does not come at the cost of the environment.

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