Sustainable procurement of computers and computer components
12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
UN SDG Target
Promote public procurement practices that are sustainable, in accordance with national policies and priorities
Level of Effort
Level of Effort Scale
1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.
2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).
3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)
• Research the sustainable initiatives out there for computer products such as ocean-bound plastics (See links in references).
(Note: these initiatives do not have to be 100% all sustainable technology. Other industries use sustainable parts instead of the whole thing if you are not looking to make that drastic of a change)
• Assess what you are using your computers for, and if it requires brand new top of the line materials and specs (if not, you can compromise some performance specifications to support these environmental initiatives)
• Assess the suppliers providing these products and the potential for partnership with these suppliers.
Sustainable technologies are continuously increasing in popularity; by supporting these efforts, you can appeal to a much wider customer demographic. Additionally, supporting sustainable innovations can improve brand image and an opportunity to form strong relationships with the innovators.
Changing practices in production and consumption will change to match the supported practices. By supporting sustainable initiatives, it encourages others in your circle to be more sustainable and the reduction of negative externalities related to production and disposal (e.g. the use of ocean-bound plastics in HP's new computer recycles plastics instead of putting more plastic into the environment).
Strategy Build & Execution
• Decide on your target, identify a feasible budget and set a realistic volume of new equipment that needs to be upgraded and can be considered for the sustainable initiative
• After establishing these targets, determine what degree of transition is appropriate (if high power computers are necessary for the function of the company, consider smaller-scale innovations than the 100% recycled materials, just parts)
• Obtain alignment from IT, consult Legal, and other departments as necessary to make the transition to new suppliers/products.
• Utilize tools like the Electronic Product Environment Assessment Tool (EPEAT), an environmental rating guide on computers and electronics; see links in resources for additional info.
Supplier Negotiation & Contract
• If possible, discuss with your suppliers the inclusion of a warranty clause with guaranteed quality during the contract establishment, as the alternative might fail to meet the standard requirements.
• In contracts, require suppliers to have EPEAT ranked silver or higher to address the different environmental impacts and specifications you would like to have in the equipment you procure.
Supplier Performance & Management
• Compare the datasheets of your new and old equipment, record user data and compare product performance of current computers with traditional computers. Cost savings should be evident in your purchasing cost and costs of equipment maintance and replacements. There should be a decrease in electronic waste and toxic waste from your company since your new equipment is more environmentally preferred. There would be fewer replacements and maintenance often compared to traditional computer equipment.
• Integrate the data collected into your existing sustainability or CO2 emission annual reports.
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