With an ambitious 2030 sustainability agenda for its business as a whole, HP wanted to ensure its IT operations supported that larger goal. The company looked at its workforce of 70,000+ employees—and even more devices—and deployed a future-minded approach to managing its PC fleet.

To reach sustainable impact goals in its own internal products, processes, and systems, HP IT:  

Prioritised sustainability

Utilised telemetry data

Redefined device lifecycles

How HP achieved it

The company reinforced its model of refurbishing existing PCs to meet employee device demand, while repurposing or recycling those that no longer met performance parameters. IT used several of HP’s own services to make that transition by:  

Gathering data from HP Proactive Insights to gauge device health and performance in order to proactively address issues before they cause interruptions  

Using HP Device as a Service (DaaS) with Advanced Exchange and Repair to repair viable devices to extend the PC lifecycle  

Leveraging Device Recovery Services to refurbish existing devices and recycle or donate the remaining devices

Starting from a sustainable foundation

HP IT began working towards these ambitious goals by ordering devices through HP DaaS to ensure many devices and components were made with recycled materials. HP only engages with partners and suppliers who share their environmental and sustainability priorities, and even rates them via Supplier Sustainability Scorecards.

Redefining traditional lifecycles

Instead of basing replacement solely on the number of years in service, IT began using telemetry to evaluate performance and extend the life of employee devices. With HP Proactive Insights, IT can preemptively look at CPU, memory utilisation, and battery life to see when a device is having performance problems – enabling proactive fleet management targeted at real productivity issues.

Giving old devices new value

When a device’s condition warrants that it must be returned, HP Services now determines if it can be reconditioned and redeployed into the HP fleet. Devices that still have useful life but no longer meet company performance standards are donated for reuse to organisations such as schools with technology needs. PCs that are at absolute end of life are responsibly recycled, recovering as much precious material as possible and reducing negative impacts on ecosystems and communities.

Key accomplishments

HP IT engaged HP Device Recovery Services to give new life to HP-owned, employee-used devices:

Repair or refurbish 11,000+ devices, preventing them from being discarded while supporting employee demand

Support the technology needs of nearly 6,400 children by donating PCs via the HOPE Recycling Futures program

Bringing people and planet benefits

Beyond its own internal efforts, HP’s focus on sustainability continues to grow, encompassing customers and communities by:

Planting a tree for every page printed to set a new industry standard

Eliminating 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025

Creating better device experiences with refurbishment plans for new covers, batteries, software, boxes, and more

Lowering the overall cost per device

Ensuring fewer devices go to landfills, with an option to extend PC device useful life via refurbishment services for up to two years

Click here to read the full case study. And find out more about HP’s Sustainability Impact Report here.

To learn more about HP Sustainable Impact, click here

HP has several exciting events coming up this year – click on each to learn more. 

The CIO Digital Enterprise Forum in May presents ideas from UK CIOs and IT leaders planning the next stage of their cloud journey.

The Official CIO Summit UK presents the best opportunity to hear how your peers are tacking the biggest challenges in the UK IT industry. (This event takes place in September).

The CSO Security Summit, scheduled for November, is the best place to hear what novel approaches and innovative technologies your security peers are taking to enhance and futureproof their security strategies.

Green IT, IT Management

If you recycle, you’re living your belief that using and regenerating products or components in environmentally friendly ways is good for our planet and its people. By extension, you’ll likely find value in the circular economy concept. According to the renowned Ellen MacArthur Foundation, “Through design, we can eliminate waste and pollution, circulate products and materials, and regenerate nature, creating an economy that benefits people, business, and the natural world.”

The question: Are your product teams prepared to implement circular economy practices?

A personal view of a circular economy

As a child, I played nearby while my parents tugged thousands of rusty nails from used lumber salvaged from a weathered gray warehouse 75 miles away. That lumber formed the walls of our first home. We kept our garden busy year-round, rotating crops to replenish the soil. We canned, froze, and dried our produce because the closest grocery store was 25 hard miles and one-fourth of a tank of gas away. From peelings, stalks, and cuttings, we fed our pets. This was our circular economy, where we reused and repurposed everything until we used it up.

The push from the top to deliver against goals

Now, with 94% of organizations integrating environmental, sustainability, and governance goals into their strategy, CIOs, operations teams, and solutions engineers are under mounting pressure to produce results. One way to transform operations and deliverables is to consider circular economy practices when designing offerings. Unfortunately, many in design and development roles lack formal training in these practices and need help integrating them into their offerings while delivering against shrinking deadlines. 

How a rapid learn-and-pivot methodology can help

The good news: An agile, four-phase innovation methodology can jumpstart sustainable development by helping teams ask the right questions at each phase. With the underlying concepts in mind, teams can begin creating more sustainable products. 

To do this, teams must emphasize the “cycle”–starting with a traditional life cycle like the one shown but with sustainability at its core. Every team and team member involved in the product life cycle must consider multiple variables, factoring in the environmental and human impact of the offerings they’re developing and putting into the market.

The Innovation team at Iron Mountain uses a four-phase customer-focused methodology called Compassion-Driven Innovation.

In this paper–How to Accelerate Sustainability  – we’ve augmented that methodology by adding critical sustainability concepts and sharing our approach to integrating sustainability into innovation practices.

We’ve outlined the four phases of innovation—Include, Discover, Enlighten, and Activate—and included foundational information about emissions and circular economy concepts. We’ve also integrated questions about sustainability and related considerations regarding a product’s impact on society.

For example, in the Include phase, teams might ask questions like:

What are the sustainability considerations related to this area?What is the state of the art for circular practices in this area?How can a solution or process related to this area reduce waste, lower energy consumption, or cut emissionsHow might it impact societal considerations? For example, can it improve the user’s life?Might it take away or shift jobs? How can we be sure that it is non-discriminatory?

Using this approach, product design and development teams can have exploratory discussions with internal environmental, sustainability, and governance (ESG) experts and external customers to better understand a product’s potential impact. With this information, they can design offerings that benefit us all.

Every effort matters

My family had no words for what we did while living in our circular economy. It was simply a way of life passed through generations. We minimized our environmental footprint while reusing and recycling what might have been waste, minimizing pollution, and regenerating the soil. We thrived from it. That house built from those weathered boards still stands more than a half-century later, covered in rosy shingles just as my mom imagined–inviting us to gather and remember the warmth and joy we’ve shared inside. Someone else’s trash became our refuge.

No matter how small or insignificant, everyone’s efforts matter. Anyone who recycles, reuses, and repurposes materials contributes to sustainability and, to varying degrees, the circular economy.

More resources

A wealth of information exists on the circular economy concept, particularly from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation website. For more information about achieving your organization’s sustainability goals, see Rethink Sustainability.

Debra Slapak, Senior Director of Innovation Strategic Initiatives at Iron Mountain

Iron Mountain

Debra Slapak is a co-author of “Compassion-Driven Innovation: 12 Steps for Breakthrough Success”. She is senior director of innovation strategic initiatives at Iron Mountain, where she leads the team responsible for the global enterprise innovation thought leadership and research programs. Debra has led marketing programs at Dell and IBM, crafting thought leadership research, education, and outreach in areas such as enterprise edge and 5G, artificial intelligence, data analytics, data management, sustainability, metaverses, and unified asset strategy. Throughout her career, she has engaged with customers, analysts, researchers, subject-matter experts, and strategists to illuminate innovation opportunities springing from emerging technologies. She’s a registered nurse, adventurous chef, therapy pet handler, wife and mother, pet lover, and natural gardener in the fertile wine country of central Texas.

Digital Transformation

March 29, 2022

Source:  Jane Marsh, Editor-in-Chief at Environment.co | Manufacturing Tomorrow 

In the U.S., manufacturing new goods accounts for nearly a quarter of all carbon emissions. By keeping goods in use for as long as possible, businesses can both cut down on their emissions and create economic opportunity.

Circular economy practices that prevent goods from going to landfills – by encouraging reuse or recycling – can help. However, these practices aren’t always easy to implement. Right now, brands are experimenting with Industry 4.0 technology that may streamline the circular approach.

How Technology Can Help Businesses Build the Circular Economy

Developing a circular economy will require a variety of different practices and new business strategies. Technology may make these practices much easier to implement.

For example, design for reusability or recyclability is one way for businesses to keep goods in the economy. If a device or product is easy to reuse or break down into recyclable components, both individuals and businesses may be more likely to reuse or recycle.

Design for recycling isn’t a new concept, but it can be challenging to implement for some devices. New design tools and design automation technology may help make design for recycling much more practical.

Some recyclers and manufacturers are also using Industry 4.0 technology like AI to streamline recycling or the design process. The pattern-finding abilities of AI can help manufacturers create designs that are more recyclable.

In other cases, circular economic practices may look similar to the preventive maintenance that many businesses already perform. Vendors of yard equipment, for example, often recommend certain end-of-year maintenance practices that can keep tools working well.

In other industries, manufacturers can work with their customers to encourage preventive maintenance practices, which can keep tools and equipment running for much longer.

These practices can have benefits for both customers and manufacturers – customers get a product that lasts longer, and manufacturers can develop a reputation for creating reliable tools. Technology like maintenance scheduling tools and equipment management systems may help both manufacturers and customers keep on top of essential maintenance.

Put together, these circular economic practices and technologies may help a wide variety of businesses reduce their carbon footprint or adopt more environmentally responsible policies.

It’s no secret that many major corporations struggle with environmental stewardship. Businesses like Ikea, Apple, Walmart, and Microsoft have all come under fire for policies that generate excessive carbon emissions or exploit vulnerable ecosystems.

Circular economic practices can help these businesses – and businesses of all sizes – adopt greener, more sustainable practices.

These Businesses Are Already Using Technology to Create a Circular Economy

While ideas about the circular economy continue to develop, some businesses have already begun experimenting with advanced technology as a building block for the circular economy.

One major adoptee of the circular approach to manufacturing is Cisco, a multinational technology company best known for its networking and cybersecurity solutions.

Katie Schindall, leader for the circular economy at Cisco, recently spoke with the magazine Tech Monitor about how the company is using technology to develop its own circular economy. According to Schindall, the right systems can have a significant impact.

“Optimising manufacturing processes for maximum reuse and tracing the embedded emissions in components and materials are both information problems that data and automation can help to address.”

Cisco isn’t the only company using modern industrial technology to develop its circular economy.

Ikea, for example, has recently rolled out a new buyback program for used furniture – which could help offset some of the environmental impacts of manufacturing new furniture.

Many footwear brands, including Puma and Adidas, are beginning to experiment with shoes made from fully recycled polyester. Fashion company H&M is exploring both fully recycled clothing materials and the use of recycled food waste in manufacturing clothing.

New Technology May Help Drive the Circular Economy

Sustainability is likely to become even more important in the future – and younger consumers, in particular, want to shop with sustainable brands.

Because manufacturing new goods is typically a carbon-intensive process, businesses can make themselves much more sustainable by building a circular economy.

Almost any practice that keeps goods in the economy can help. Recycled materials, buyback programs, and even initiatives that encourage preventive maintenance can all help businesses reduce their carbon footprint and create new economic opportunities.

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