We visited Europe’s largest consumer electronics trade show, the IFA in Berlin
Apart from the most important fairs of the stone sector, we also like to visit fairs of other economic fields, either because the competition of stone is there (Cersaie in Bologna), or because trends of consumption are shown there (Salone del Mobile in Milan, International Tourism trade fair in Berlin, ITB). This time we were at IFA, Europe’s largest trade fair for consumer electronics and household technology, which took place in Berlin from September 01 to 05, 2023.
Sustainability and artificial intelligence were the central themes of IFA this year.
Sustainability is already involved in the manufacture of the devices, for example through low energy or resource consumption, just as it is during operation through efficient use of energy, and finally at the end of the useful life through the recycling of the materials used.
The aim is to achieve a closed-loop economy. This is to be achieved in the case of appliances by ensuring that the material components are cleanly separated during disassembly.
The organizer, gfu Consumer & Home Electronics GmbH, had set up a “Sustainability Village“ in one of the halls for this purpose. It comprised presentations and expert lectures on the subject.
A special feature was the Repair Café of a Berlin initiative: visitors could bring along old electrical appliances, which, if possible, were immediately put back into operation free of charge by the private screwdrivers.
The guideline for the future should be that repair is “easier and cheaper than buying new,“ one of the lectures said.
However, one expert had suggested in her presentation that for many consumers, the payoff of ecological awareness was not readily apparent. “Communication is needed,“ she said: people need to be told that while an energy-efficient appliance is more expensive to buy, it more than recoups that expense over its useful life.
That after years of ex-and-hope in appliances, the trend is now toward durability seemed certain to the IFA experts. “In the long term, the life cycles of products will be much longer than they are today,“ the representative of an electronics group was quoted as saying. He cites the course set at EU level as the reason for his assessment.
And: “It doesn’t always have to be a new appliance,“ said a representative of BSH, Europe’s largest manufacturer of household appliances. So, you can now rent appliances instead of buying them from his company under the brand name Bluemovement.
The trade show program also included the obligatory “green“ commitment: Treedom is planting trees around the world, and visitors to IFA were able to support this.
The 99th edition of the annual show counted about 2060 exhibitors from 48 countries in 26 halls on 130,000 square meters and about 180,000 visitors.
References to the natural stone sector:
* energy efficiency is also an important trend in quarries and factories;
* in terms of resource efficiency, the stone sector has also made great strides, for example with more and more products made from stone waste coming onto the market;
* on the subject of material longevity, the stone sector has an enormous advantage, but it also has to demonstrate this advantage to the customer;
* special consideration deserves the fact that stone products are 100% natural; in the household and entertainment industry the idea of natural materials for their appliances almost does not appear at all;
* the issue of recycling and circular economy also plays a major role in household and entertainment appliances. For the stone sector the argumentation is more complex, because they do not create their materials themselves, but get them ready-made from nature. For them, the reference to the cycle of rocks is a good example, in which recycling takes place over millions of years and is still in progress.
(11.10.2023, USA: 10.11.2023)