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India’s electronics sector to tap $7 billion untapped revenue by 2035

A joint report, by India Cellular & Electronics Association (ICEA) and Accenture, outlining the immense potential and benefits of transitioning to a circular economy approach in electronics in India has been released by Shri Alkesh sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY). The report is titled, “Pathways to Circular Economy in Indian Electronics Sector” and presents a comprehensive analysis of the current challenges and proposes a set of bold policy interventions to achieve a game-changing transformation.

The circular economy approach in electronics domain must outgrow its role in e-waste management to evolve into a powerhouse for resilience, resource efficiency, and economic growth. India’s dynamic circular electronics policy framework is undergoing a metamorphosis, driven by the pivotal E-Waste Management (EWM) Rules and the strategic prioritization of e-waste by NITI Aayog.

A data-driven report that dissects India’s unique landscape and navigates a path towards a future that reaps economic, social, and environmental rewards and showcases the viability and appeal for a spectrum of policy interventions, spotlighting the potential of circular strategies. The report release event was attended by Shri Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA, Dr.

Sandip Chatterjee, Scientist G and Group Coordinator, MeitY, Shri Ved Prakash Mishra, Director, Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Sudhendu J Sinha, Advisor, NITI Aayog, and Shri Sundeep Singh, Managing Director, Accenture.

The unhygienic recycling practices is leading to non-degradable substances causing air, water, soil pollution and serious health hazards.

Key Insights from the Report:

  • Economic Potential Unleashed: A total of six circular business models, including Circular Design, Repair, and Resell, etc. can unlock an untapped revenue potential of $7 billion by 2035. These circular models can reshape the electronics sector, driving economic growth and boosting resilience.
  • The projected market size for these circular models is valued at $13 billion by 2035. Yet, the total addressable market, achievable through the public and private partnerships, increases to $20 billion, revealing an untapped potential of 35%.
  • Risk of Value Wastage: Failure to embrace the circular transition could affect approx. 1-3% of electronics industry’s EBITDA, leading to potential revenue loss.
  • Trade-Off Balancing Act: With India’s unique socio-economic and manufacturing landscape, a strategic balancing of five key trade-offs is imperative. These include decisions on policy vision, formalizing the informal sector, incentivizing ease of doing business, managing supply-side strength, and tapping into consumer-driven demand shift.
  • Existing Circularity at Scale: Three core business models – Repair, Resell, and Recycling – are already thriving in India, predominantly driven by the informal sector. 90% of collection and 70% of recycling are handled by this competitive sector. However, only 22% of collected e-waste is managed by the formal sector, revealing room for improvement.
  • Environmental and Social Challenges: The informal sector’s dominance presents challenges such as soil and water contamination due to rudimentary recycling methods. Additionally, issues like waste worker safety, child labour, and meagre wages worsen environmental and human rights risks.
  • Strategic Policy Interventions: The report presents nine bold policy interventions spanning Downstream, Use-phase, and Upstream pathways. These include fostering multi-brand repair services, defining refurbishment standards, and creating a productas-a-service framework.
  • Impact of Implementations: Cumulatively, the proposed policies can generate an economic value of $1.7 billion (net of costs) and divert 0.5 million tons of WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment), focusing solely on smartphones and laptops until 2035.
  • Green Job Creation and Emission Mitigation: Implementing these policies can create 110,000 high-quality formal sector green jobs and reduce GHG emissions by 1.6 million tons from smartphones and laptops by 2035.
  • System Change Pathway: By adopting a balanced approach across Downstream, Use-phase, and Upstream interventions, India could elevate its economic value potential to $2.5 billion and divert 0.6 million tons of WEEE by 2035.

Actionable Imperatives for India’s Circular Transformation:

  1. Focused Roadmap: Develop a strategic roadmap prioritizing key interventions for swift implementation.
  2. Shared Understanding: Cultivate a comprehensive understanding among stakeholders to foster collective decision-making.
  3. Bold Actions: Undertake ambitious actions such as overhauling EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) implementation and attracting substantial investments.
  4. Industry Collaboration: Form coalitions of willing industry players to pioneer transformation and set benchmarks.
  5. Data-Driven Policies: Embrace data-backed policymaking for objective decisionmaking and effective implementation.
  6. Industry standards for e-waste audit, followed by all stakeholders.

During the report release event:

Shri, Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, MeitY, emphasised that the report offers of series of bold policy interventions. With an objective and data-driven methodology, the report outlines a pathway to garner economic, social and environmental gains. It proposes an anticipated incremental economic value of $1.7 billion while diverting 0.5 million tons of WEEE (Waste electrical and electronic equipment).

Mr Sharma said “The report resonates with the government’s commitment to India-centric circular business models. It evaluates readiness, identifies opportunities, and proposes evidence-based policies, propelling us towards responsible resource management and the 4Rs—reuse, repair, recover, re-manufacture. Kudos for this remarkable contribution to a greener future.”

Mr. Pankaj Mohindroo, Chairman, ICEA, opined “The report aligns perfectly with the Government of India’s strategic vision to establishing a robust circular electronics ecosystem in India. It serves dispensable roadmap enriched by actionable imperatives for a swift transformation to a circular economy.”

Mr Mohindroo further added, “I am confident that the electronics industry would facilitate sustainable circular economy practices to ensure a sustainable green future for the generations to come.”

“We are optimistic that the substantive policy measures advocated in the report will set a new paradigm shift for sustainable practices in the electronics sector. The government’s commitment to evolving and fine-tuning policies, in close consultation with the electronics industry led by ICEA, will mark a significant milestone in the journey towards a greener future.” concluded Mr Mohindroo.

For report,

CT Bureau

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