Sustainability – Good for Business and Your Bottom Line


I’m interested in IT asset management and today I wanted to talk about end of life assets, the WEEE Directive and sustainability.

Large businesses today recognize both their corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations to their customers, employees and stakeholders and the impact of sustainability on the environment, as well as their profitability and reputation. They build it into their plans to ensure not only compliance but also to build their brand through their green credentials.

As a result, there’s a growing sense of responsibility to move IT operations to a more environmentally friendly footing. Driving greater sustainability in IT is not only good for the environment; it can help you manage risk and compliance for your business too.

Out with the old and in with the new!

While most companies recognize the value of moving toward greener IT, the demands of achieving cost-effective operations often preclude making changes solely based on environmental gains. Today, you can have both increased cost efficiency and greener IT. Retiring older assets and buying newer, more energy efficient, assets can help you reduce costs within the data centre.

The WEEE directive has plenty to say about how to retire assets in an environmentally friendly manner. European business has to follow best practice which is reusing wherever possible and if recycling, then complying with EU legislation on waste disposal.

Resell, repair, sell for spare, and only as a last resort, recycle

In line with the principles of the circular economy, essentially the aim is to reuse – so resell first, repairing if necessary. If that’s not possible, perhaps because the asset is too old, break it down and recover the components. These can be sold for spares or as raw materials. Recycle only if necessary with as close to zero landfill policy being the ultimate goal.

We’ve developed tried and tested processes and procedures needed across a global practice, to deliver a homogeneous service for our customers. What do we do that might be useful for you too?

  1. Implement an enterprise wide asset recovery strategy
    • Improve governance and control. Put a clear asset retirement process in place and include all aspects of IT – data centre, end user computing, networking and mobile devices. Work with trusted partners who you can be sure will ensure your compliance and manage the assets in accordance with the directive
    • Track assets. We track end of life asset movements through the logistics process and into our technology renewal centres. We audit our transport companies to ensure they are environmentally sound.
    • Certify outcomes. Provide reports and certifications on the outcomes. Organizations are required to provide environmental reports to their in country authorities in the EU. We help customers do that efficiently and easily.
  1. Develop a best use life cycle policy
    • Refresh your data centers – exploit new technology to achieve better sustainability outcomes and lower your operating costs
    • Remarket before recycle – we know there’s a great market for pre-owned data centre IT and by remarketing we can generate a revenue stream to further support customer’s sustainability agendas. Indeed that often delivers the ROI for the project.
    • When we bring in assets into our facilities, if we can’t remarket straight away, we break them down for spares or we repair them and sell them on the second hand market. Only as a last resort do we recycle. Because we track the asset all the way we are able to certify their disposition.
    • Recycle obsolete IT responsibly in compliance with legislation
  1. Measure and report on what you do to showcase compliance, good governance, delivery to business KPIs and your green credentials.

If you haven’t got the time or expertise to implement your own strategy, let us help streamline your IT asset recovery process and deliver on your sustainability agenda. Contact me if you’d like to continue the conversation and find out more.

1 Mitchell, C., Ray, R.L., & van Ark, B., CEO Challenge 2016 Building Capability Seeking Alignment, Agility, and Talent to Innovate and Grow, The Conference Board, 2016, Research Report R-1599-16-RR

2 Verdantix, The Crisis of Corporate Sustainability, September 2016, p. 3

3 BSR/GlobeScan, The State of Sustainable Business 2015 Annual Results, September 2015, p. 14
This note is provided for general information purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should obtain your own legal advice with respect to WEEE directive compliance.

John Woodcock

Author: John Woodcock

John Woodcock, Asset Management Manager, HPE Financial Services