Purchased, used, and decommissioned after a year or two – a familiar story for many company smartphones and other devices. But thanks to usage-based asset lifecycle management, it is possible to upgrade ICT equipment while acting sustainably.
The digital workplace has become a key performance factor for companies, which is why they provide their workforce with mobile devices such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones alongside stationary equipment. As technology quickly becomes obsolete, they also regularly replace this hardware, resulting in vast amounts of old equipment that need to be managed. And coronavirus has only exacerbated this situation, as the study ‘The Rising Tide of E-Waste’ by Blancco reveals: Almost all respondents (93 percent) in Germany cited storage and disposal of hardware purchased during the pandemic as an issue. Only 2 percent of respondents plan to continue using laptops in the office that were originally acquired for working from home, while a mere 4 percent plan to recycle them and 1 percent to scrap them – the latter mainly to destroy data. The majority (78 percent) are inclined to store any assets they have purchased for now and use them at some point in the future.
Storing assets that are no longer used shortens their useful life, when the aim, from an environmental point of view, should be to maximize their useful life, for example by selling them on. Research by the German Environment Agency has revealed that using a laptop for six rather than three years reduces associated greenhouse gas emissions and lifecycle costs by around 28 percent. In addition, any hardware lying unused in storage is wasted capital and can represent a real drain on finances. In Germany, for example, it costs one in four companies more than €100,000 a year. Storing unused hardware makes neither environmental nor economic sense.
In light of this, it can be worthwhile taking a closer look at the trend for minimalism among consumers, who only own what they actually use. Their focus is on the quality of a product, and they act in line with the principles of the circular economy to increase a product’s useful life. For example, they sell what they no longer need, which often makes it affordable for others in the first place. And instead of buying a car or a smartphone for a lot of money, they simply lease one instead, for as long as they need it. This paves the way for remarketing, avoids waste, conserves resources, reduces clutter, and saves space and costs. Leasing also gives consumers greater flexibility and independence, without having to compromise.
These are benefits that companies can also enjoy when it comes to ICT. The lifecycle model from German technology-management company and financial service provider CHG-MERIDIAN shows how easy it can be.
CHG-MERIDIAN’s lifecycle services are based on a belief in the need for sustainability from start to finish with a focus on putting the circular economy into practice. They are usage-based throughout, from as-is analysis to consultancy, and from device provision and financing to refurbishment and remarketing. A comprehensive solution such as this makes it easier and more profitable for companies to take the decisive step.
How many devices are there? What is in use and where, and what is not? These questions can help to determine which hardware should be decommissioned and what the workforce actually needs. Once this has been established, the ICT infrastructure can be quickly optimized. The first step is to sell off any unused hardware, the second is to lease new assets via a customized business concept or an intelligent as-a-service solution. Companies profit from tailored lease instalments, tax benefits, greater liquidity, and zero time spent on procurement.
Full flexibility while in use, i.e. companies can quickly and easily return, exchange, or add assets during the lease term. This makes it easier to keep pace with technology, to avoid unused hardware, and to keep inventory lean, which in turn reduces the burden on the IT team. CHG-MERIDIAN’s own TESMA® online platform plays a key role in facilitating this. It collates all data on assets, contracts, invoices, and more to ensure that technology management is transparent and efficient.
Companies no longer need to worry about decommissioned hardware thanks to local collection and ISO-certified eraSURE® data destruction that meets all legal and customer requirements. The process is handled by CHG-MERIDIAN’s technology centers in Germany and Norway, where the hardware is also refurbished. In 2020, the refurbishment ratio was 96 percent, with 880,000 assets given a second life through remarketing. As the expected proceeds of sale are used to reduce the lease instalment, companies can make considerable savings. At the same time, they can play their part in protecting the environment. They can upgrade their ICT devices with a clear conscience to increase their digital performance and ensure that their employees have the equipment they need.
CHG-MERIDIAN offers even more by helping to make hardware carbon-neutral. Customers who take up the carbonZER0® option can have their CO2 emissions calculated using a TÜV-certified process, and then offset the emissions via their lease instalment. The extra cost of making a smartphone carbon-neutral is just a few cents a month. The money is invested in recognized climate change mitigation projects, while certificates provide documentary proof of the emissions saved. This is a huge opportunity for German companies to take a lead on climate action, as research by Bitkom reveals that few companies are measuring their environmental footprint and offsetting their carbon emissions. It also represents another way of acting sustainably, thus boosting employee satisfaction and the company’s image, and making it easier to attract new employees and customers. A win-win situation for businesses.