The Future’s Bright – The Future’s Green
When it comes to the environment, we’re at a tipping point where all roads are now leading to the Green Agenda.
By Mark Watson, Wisetek UK, Head of Business Development
In many ways, the modern green agenda started back in the 1980s when notions of mass consumption and greenhouse gases among other issues started to be debated in the mainstream media.
Depending on your age, the 1980s might be ancient history or very much alive in your memory; however, the seeds that were sowed back then have, not only taken root in contemporary business and political policy but are flowering all around us.
A great example of the evolution in our thinking comes from Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft and philanthropist. Back in the 1980s, he was revolutionising how businesses worked with the advent of the Windows operating system and its associated programs.
Gates was a famously hardnosed businessman and drove his company to global fame while making him at various times, the richest man on Earth. Under no circumstances could you have confused the young Gates with a green campaigner.
Yet fast-forward forty years and Gates has just released a book called How to Avoid a Climate Disaster. Yes – we’re a long way from Excel spreadsheets.
The Power of Procurement
One of the Gates’ points when it comes to the environment, concerns something which we’re all familiar with – the basic act of purchasing, or if you’re in business, procurement.
Whether you are an individual buying a product or a company buying multiple items, whatever you put in your shopping basket can make a real difference. Gates admits that the cost of green alternatives can be a little more expensive, but he argues that if more businesses keep opting for the green, more costly option, then the cost will ultimately come down for future generations.
Furthermore, companies will see that there is a market in green products and start investing in them, and this, in turn, will lead institutional investors to invest for the long term.
The Circular Economy
Nevertheless, before you go out and buy a new product, perhaps you should ask yourself a simple question: what your motivation is for buying the product and also, whether or not you actually need it.
For example, while it makes perfect sense to buy low-carbon products and electric vehicles, we should all be looking at ways to reduce, reuse and retool products too.
Take laptops and computers. If you have listened to any computer enthusiast, you’ll, no doubt, be aware of how they see PCs as a series of interlocking, though separate parts: motherboard, processer, and memory, among other items.
Although they are all required for your PC to operate, they are completely separate items which have their own shelf life. What this means is that, just because the processor breaks down, it doesn’t mean that you need to get rid of the entire machine; all it requires is a little technical know-how to replace the aforementioned item.
This is the philosophy of the Circular Economy: you replace the part, not the machine, in order to keep items going for as long as possible. Only when you have absolutely no choice, do you get rid of the machine? And even when you do, somebody still might have a use for your old PC – a charity, for instance.
Wisetek’s commitment to the Green Agenda
Fixing IT assets is all well and good if you are handy with a screwdriver and have the patience to follow step-by-step instructions on YouTube. If you are in the IT Department of a large company, you’ll have your work cut out for you, without endlessly swapping in and out parts.
And that’s where we come in. While Gates is correct that buying newer, greener products may have a premium attached to them, a robust IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) strategy works in the other way.
The more you align your company’s ITAD strategy to the Circular Economy, the more savings you make – and straight away.
What is sometimes called ‘life cycle management’, it starts with a professional audit of your IT assets in order to get an idea of their condition and value. And then, over time, when issues come up with your assets and you are looking to replace stock, you’ll have a lot more choices than rushing out and buying a new asset.
For example, your ITAD partner can advise you on the condition of your IT assets; what parts are suitable for being reused; what parts can be sold on the international ‘as new’ market; and lastly, if a part or IT asset has to be put out of service, the most environmental way of disposing of the asset.
By implementing such an ITAD strategy, you’ll not only make savings but your financial future – and that of the Earth’s too – will be a little bit brighter.