This year’s Sustainable Brands International (SBi) Conference at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach featured a panel discussion this morning on the urgent need for responsible recycling of electronics and the global impact e-waste has on brands and on the planet. John S. Shegerian, Chairman and CEO of Electronic Recyclers International (ERI), the nation’s leading recycler of electronic waste, organized and moderated the panel discussion, which also featured Brenda Mathison, Director of Environmental Affairs for Best Buy and David Thompson, Director of the Corporate Environmental Department at Panasonic.

Shegerian argued that it is now “far too late to sweep this problem under the rug” and urged his fellow industry leaders to work with legislators on a global level to establish effective systems to correctly dispose of the massive amounts of unwanted electronics currently flooding the waste stream.

He also explained the mounting environmental problems internationally — caused by the glut of our and other nations’ e-waste, as well as the forthcoming “tsunami-like” increase of e-waste domestically with the impending national television switchover to digital.

The theme of this year’s Sustainable Brands International was to provide insight into the unfolding drivers of sustainable innovation in the US and around the world — from climate change and materials scarcity to poverty, global economic upheaval and a rapidly changing consumer and competitive landscape.

Each year at SBi, speakers share strategies and results in product design and packaging, brand communications, carbon measurement and offsets, waste-management, multi-stakeholder collaboration, and investment strategies that are changing the face of business as we know it. Participants learn how local and foreign economies from the US to China and India, to Africa, South America and the EU, are driving revenue and brand value while operating more efficiently, saving money and shaping a more sustainable future.

Sustainable Brands International ’08 was hosted by Sustainable Life Media, a home for business professionals seeking to build value and competitive advantage by innovating more sustainable strategies, practices and products.

“It has been a an honor and privilege to be a part of this extraordinary conference,” said Shegerian, “where many of the world’s foremost innovators and business leaders gather to discuss the ways businesses can discover their own sustainable DNA – for everyone’s benefit. Electronic waste is certainly a challenge with dramatic global environmental and human rights implications, but with very real solutions. It’s exciting to share the stage with Best Buy and Panasonic, two amazing global brands taking proactive measures to help solve the e-waste problem.”

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