Global businesses recognize that innovative ITAD programs play a measurable part in achieving their carbon neutral sustainability goals.
Sims Lifecycle Services (SLS) has been an important innovator in the IT asset disposition (ITAD) industry for twenty years. The environmentally responsible disposal of retired IT equipment has always been central to our service, and clients saw it as critical to their environmental compliance programs. But over the past five years, we’ve seen an evolution in this outlook. The environment and sustainability gains are now key drivers of ITAD programs, not a “nice to have” bonus.
This change was crystalized with a service proposal request SLS received in November 2018 from a major multi-national company. One of their guiding principles is to operate in the best interest of the environment, and this was reflected in their service request. They laid out the importance of sustainability for both environment and their corporate identity from the first lines of the request:
As IT is a big waste contributor especially with harmful substances, it is very important that we have the overall control and full traceability of the way we dispose all our electronic equipment. The objective is to have a clear service offering fulfilling our needs to manage the lifecycle recovery and recycling of hardware assets to secure that we keep the trust of customers and avoid that our IT equipment ends up in a landfill somewhere in the world.
Because of our focus on sustainability and our strong service offering, SLS advanced through their selection process. Before the contract could be awarded, the client completed Corporate Social Responsibility audits at two SLS sites in February 2018. These audits confirmed our mutual commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 8, “Decent Work and Economic Growth” by ensuring SLS met their standards for decent and meaningful work for employees in the supply chain. We welcomed the opportunity to have a fresh set of eyes review our operations and polices. We were pleased that we exceeded the client’s requirements.
The contract was signed in April 2018, with onboarding and program planning beginning in May. Service to 23 countries commenced in September of that year. Since then, SLS has collected and processed nearly 90,000 assets. The resale of laptops, PCs, servers and switches has returned significant value to the client and extended the equipment’s usable life.
That resale effort, along with responsible recycling for the remaining assets, has also delivered substantial environmental benefits for the client. Through their ITAD program, they avoided nearly 9,000 tonnes of CO2 embodied emissions. That’s the equivalent of removing about 2,000 passenger cars from the road for one year or saving the annual energy use of over 1,000 households.
Promoting this reuse of IT equipment and components is one improvement the client is making in their value chain to help drive them towards achieving their carbon footprint reduction goals. Working towards a circular economy for electronics also reflects the client’s and SLS’ mutual commitment to UN SDGs 12 and 13. In working towards UN SDG 13, “Responsible Consumption and Production”, reusing equipment and components extends their lifecycle and also avoids the emissions and use of virgin materials that producing new equipment entails. Reducing greenhouse gas emission from their value chain also helps to achieve UN SDG 12, “Climate Action”, while delivering revenue back to them to support business growth.
Since we began this client journey, dozens of other sustainability-focused proposals have crossed our desks. We’ve enjoyed creating ITAD programs to help achieve clients’ carbon neutral goals. Visit https://www.simslifecycle.com/global/circular-economy/ to learn more about our industry-leading environmental reporting.