IT Sustainability Think Tank: Aligning procurement with the concepts of the circular economy

With sustainability going up the conference room program, CIOs and IT supervisors should want to revamp their IT procurement methods to line up with the concepts of the circular economy, however why and what does this mean when it concerns handling the lifecycle of their whole IT estate?


Published: 13 Jun 2022

The boost in the digital carbon footprint goes together with digital improvement. This footprint is ruled out or imagined from virtually any digital improvement method. This vacuum, contributed to the growing effect of digital contamination, is not sustainable. This digital excess’s carbon footprint has actually currently gone beyond that of the international air travel and maritime market.

When discussing digital change, its ecological expense is not pointed out, or the relationship in between the boost in computational power and worldwide warming or the decrease of biodiversity.

Applying the concepts of the circular economy, we require to practice “minimize, recycle and recycle”. Remove waste by recycling, fixing, remanufacturing, reconditioning IT possessions and digital gadgets. Continuing to mine the Earth for rare-earth elements and minerals and make brand-new gadgets is unsustainable. We merely can no longer continue to draw out Earth’s resources to produce items and utilize them, just to deal with them into garbage dump.

Volatility in supply chains worsened by the war in Ukraine, the increased computational power needed by brand-new innovation ideas, such as the metaverse and 5G, has actually resulted in a substantial need for basic materials required for the production of gadgets and servers, and so on

The bulk of the carbon emissions of a gadget’s lifecycle happen throughout the production procedure. Extending the beneficial life of IT properties is the single biggest thing any organisation can do– keeping them longer in the circle and in the loop– to reduce the ecological effect of digital.

When buying, organisations require to reconsider, and conquer their fascination with purchasing brand-new. Reconditioned and remanufactured gadgets can conserve great deals of cash and prevent a great deal of carbon emissions. Research studies have actually likewise revealed that some reconditioned and remanufactured gadgets can be more dependable than brand-new gadgets since they are more carefully checked. Keeping gadgets longer makes great service sense, too, as many brand-new IT possessions are merely not providing when it pertains to included efficiency.

The primary step is to comprehend and acknowledge the ecological effect of our digitisation– that it is far from sustainable. Let us bear in mind that the manufacture of computer system devices represents about half of the ecological effect of these items.

Practise “accountable intake”. Get rid of waste by recycling, fixing, remanufacturing, reconditioning IT properties and digital gadgets.

  • Extend life of gadgets and existing facilities as long as possible.
  • Look to fix instead of get rid of.
  • Invest in “fixing” systems and facilities.
  • Procure reconditioned or remanufactured.
  • Procure gadgets that are repairable.
  • Use gadgets that are recyclable at end of life.
  • Design software application to utilize less hardware.

Organisations must likewise aim to revamp their procurement processes to line up with the concepts of the circular economy due to the fact that the direct financial design of IT intake and use is not sustainable. The existing technique to IT procurement should alter to lower the effect that our present throw-away culture is having on the environment.

Current IT procurement procedures need to be formed by circular economy concepts, promoting toughness of facilities and gadgets, with focus on reusing, remanufacturing and recycling to keep IT resources, elements and products flowing in the economy.

For this factor, as a market, it is crucial that we embrace and welcome “best to fix” as a concept, check out methods which we can end the prepared obsolescence of technological gadgets and extend their lifecycle.

Organisations ought to likewise seek to develop a yearly CO 2 effect figure for digital devices and its usage. New sets of metrics ought to be established to track, keep an eye on and determine the circularity of IT. These might consist of, for instance, the portion of remanufactured/refurbished IT properties utilized, figures signifying the energy-efficiency of PCs, laptop computers and servers, the number of years the lifecycle of the gadget has actually been extended, and the portion of renewable resource intake.

The concepts of the circular economy ought to be welcomed proactively. Enthusiastic circular economy steps might press organisations to drive the brand-new net-zero economy and digital can play an essential part in this shift with sustainability as an essential check and balance.

Organisations ought to concentrate on decreasing and removing information waste. Ineffective information facilities and information practices have actually resulted in increased information waste. A total information method is needed to resolve this. An effective information method will decrease the requirement for more devices and information storage.

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