How to make IT procurement environmentally friendly

When it comes to reducing some of the catastrophic problems caused by redundant IT, what matters is what’s in it, and how it’s put together. A company’s end-of-life processes are crucial when it comes to reducing the amount of kit that gets sent to landfill or illegally exported, but it is at the procurement stage where IT managers can flex their consumer muscle and help to bring about changes in the way IT is manufactured.

There are two ways for an organisation to introduce environmental elements to an IT procurement process. It could either research and write its own environmental requirements, or it could stipulate that the successful supplier will be a member of an environmental scheme such as Epeat, which rates electronic products according to their environmental attributes.  The idea is that each supplier will adhere to a certain standard of ethical manufacture, meaning buyers know how green the products are.

Large corporates and government organisations are often aware of the legal pitfalls of hazardous waste and of the PR nightmare that can ensue if you’re caught, and they deal with it properly as a result.”But small businesses who buy maybe 200 to 500 computers a year don’t have this reputational pressure. They might not realise they have liability.

So the message here is be careful, be diligent and check your supplier’s green credentials before accepting delivery of that next batch of hardware.

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