Greening the Electronics Show: How green is Green?

The Consumer Electronics Association’s (CEA)  is making hay with its decision to green the annual electronics show in Las Vegas.  With 140,000 attendees, the show’s direct impact is at least 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions … without counting the CO2 from 140,000 travelers.  Nor, the shipping of the show materials and other supplies for displays.   Yes, a very serious challenge.  According to a Washington Post article, CEA’s chief executive, Gary Shapiro said

“It’s pretty ambitious, considering we’re larger than the Super Bowl and all the political conventions.”

Now, based on the costs from the CarbonFund, assuming that there is no discount for mass scale, for $110,000 CEA will be able to make the show carbon neutral. 

Guiltfree Las Vegas partying for a paltry price.

Really, is this greening or Greenwashing?

Shapiro said people use the show to network and hold meetings. He estimated that each flight to Las Vegas cuts 156,000 miles of additional air travel attendees would otherwise have had to log in order to meet.

Yes. Encourage people to get to Las Vegas, ASAP.  Every person traveling to LV will, on average, offset 156,000 miles of future travel. On this basis, the 140,000 people traveling to the show will cut 21,840,000,000 miles out the aviation industry’s future paid travel.  If the airlines cared about their business, they would shut down travel to Las Vegas around the Consumer Electronics Show.  After all, they stand to lose nearly 22 billion passenger miles based on those face-to-face meetings.

Albert Lin, an analyst with American Technology Research and a veteran of CES, commented:

“The consumer electronics world is characterized as one of the most ungreen. The industry is trying to work hard to turn around that perception.”

Yes, working “hard to turn around that perception.” 

The truth is that there is some substance to the efforts. There will be recycling bins. Use of green cleaning products, recycled paper, and many other environmentally friendly elements in running the show. There will be efforts to promote awareness among attendees and attending businesses. 

Greening or Greenwashing? You make the call.


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