Mention the words ‘green IT’ and recycling immediately springs to mind. Critical as it is to the total product life cycle however, recycling is not the immediate solution.
We’re all familiar with the concept of “use, re-use and then recycle”, but it is a mantra that needs action if it is to gain significant momentum. It applies in all areas of our lives; that is, if we are serious about handing over our world in a sustainable manner to the generations to follow.
Maximising the life of any IT asset should always be the primary objective of the owner. This approach delivers two major benefi ts: it maximises the value of the asset and ensures its useful life is extended, even if it is not in the environment that it was initially used within.
In the IT sector, re-marketing of assets offers all owners an ideal solution. Not only does it extend the life of the asset; it also maximises its value, provides detailed records and analysis of the assets in question, and creates opportunities to fulfil a ready demand in countries where sizeable second-hand markets already exist and show signs of continued growth.
Bigger picture benefits, which are clearly less measurable but potentially just as important, are the opportunities created for the less privileged to gain access to technology they might not otherwise have been able to afford, in addition to the reduction of harmful e-waste. Add to the above the fact that clearing out the assets alleviates clutter, frees up space and ticks off one more thing on the ‘to do’ list and in so doing, frees up mind space to focus on the future and more productive aspects of the business.
It appears that the biggest challenge companies face when it comes to re-marketing is taking action, and it is this lack of commitment to action that could see them sitting on IT assets that are devaluing fast and certainly no longer paying their way.
Another obstacle faced by asset owners is a lack of understanding of the re-marketing process itself. Re-marketing starts with the receipt of the asset, which is then checked for specifications and assessed for faults. This is then followed by a data ‘scrubbing’ process which ensures all previous information is erased from the hard drive, guaranteeing data security for the initial owner and a ‘clean’ asset for the new owner. After a good physical clean, both internally and externally, the asset is now in a condition that is ready for sale.
The key to removing the pain is to identify the right re-marketing partner; one who is able to meet your needs, understand your business and who is committed to building a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship. Maximising the return on asset value is also a vital part of the mix and needs to be measured over time in a fast and ever-changing market environment. Clearly, well established channels to market and strong relationships, both locally and overseas, are vital to achieving the best results.
Once all avenues of re-marketing have been explored, one needs to turn to the final component of green IT and ensure the preferred re-marketing partner has a responsible and comprehensive e-waste offering. Given NZ’s ‘clean green’ positioning internationally, it is important to ‘walk the talk’ and set an example by behaving in an environmentally and socially responsible manner when it comes to final disposal of IT assets.
While there is still no formal legislation in New Zealand preventing the ‘dumping’ of end of life assets in landfills, this can only be viewed as a wasteful act when there is dollar value to be had through remarketing and brand value to be found in recycling.