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Intellect, the UK’s trade body for the technology industry, has signed up to a government plan to phase out energy-guzzling consumer electronics products.

The organisation's consumer electronics council will join the government-led scheme alongside the British Retail Consortium and retailers to look at ways that manufacturers can reduce CO2 emissions in their products.

Minister for Climate Change Joan Ruddock said yesterday that it was vital to engage the entire industry in the proposals to help find ways of combating the harmful effects of energy-intensive products on the environment.

She said that consumer electronics accounted for "15 per cent of the UK's total domestic electricity consumption in 2006" and warned that the figure could double by 2020 "if we do nothing".

The likes of DSGi, Tesco, Comet, John Lewis and Woolworths expressed interest in joining the voluntary scheme following a meeting with Ruddock in November last year. Small consumer electronics retailers are also being encouraged to get involved with the new programme.

The government said it was eyeing up set-top boxes and other products that use "excessive" power in standby.

It has also set an arguably ambitious aim of "significantly reducing carbon emissions from these products over the next four years" - the caveat being that retailers will need to support and implement the proposals first. ®

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