Today, an environmental, social and governance (ESG) score is more important than ever for organizations. ESG measures an organization’s resource consumption (environment), impact on the community (social) and internal compliance practices (governance). ESG is not only good for your company from a social responsibility perspective, it is also great for your company in terms of financial value.
Research shows that organizations that prioritize ESG benefit from revenue growth, cost reduction, and employee recruitment and retention. In addition, ESG builds loyalty among investors, customers and other stakeholders.
What does ESG have to do with ITAD?
An easy and free way to improve ESG is to partner with a mission-based nonprofit, such as PCs for People, to recycle and redistribute used computers. ITAD companies can also use this strategy to help their business partners advance their ESG efforts. This gives ITAD companies another selling point for their services.
The environmental benefit is that they will save thousands of pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills. The social benefit is that computers are refurbished and provided to low-income people in your community. And the benefit of governance is compliance with recycling and waste laws and regulations.
Most companies replace their devices every 3-5 years. Many of these devices end up in landfills or are refurbished for profit. But what if we could use these devices to solve a serious problem in today’s society: the digital divide? According to the Pew Research Center, about 4 in 10 low-income adults do not have a desktop or laptop computer (41%). In our modern society, the dependence on access to technology has never been greater, as it has become a necessity for learning, work, health care and many other daily activities. . And when it comes to the environment, the impact can be significant: PCs for People reports that they’ve stopped more than 9 million pounds of e-waste from ending up in landfills since their inception in 1998, with the vast majority coming from enterprises.
You can help improve the ESG of your corporate clients and bridge the digital divide by partnering with a not-for-profit organization. Whether you can provide computers or not, there is something everyone can do. Some ideas include:
- Donate the computers you collect to a national non-profit organization like PCs for People, who will refurbish them and distribute them to low-income communities.
- Inform your supplier partners of the possibility of donating a part of their computers that you collect to a non-profit organization. By dedicating a portion of devices to a socially responsible mission, it could encourage potential suppliers to work with you, as you can help them achieve the company’s ESG goals.
- If your vendor partner has computers in locations that are inaccessible to you, suggest that they turn them over to a national non-profit organization that will collect the computers and disinfect the devices free of charge. It’s a win-win for everyone!
Where ITAD nonprofits once couldn’t compete with the data sanitization standards of for-profit companies, that is no longer the case. You and your vendor can be assured that computers that are provided to nonprofit organizations like PCs for People will receive full professional ITAD services with National Association for Information Destruction (NAID) certified data deletion. It’s important to also check the certifications of other nonprofit processors you might consider working with. For example, Digitunity is another national non-profit organization that directs computers towards bridging the digital divide.
Concerns about donating directly to those in need
While computers can be donated directly to users in need, this sometimes leaves the burden of software and technical support up to you or your vendor. Nonprofit partners are able to distribute computers with fully licensed Microsoft operating systems, as well as provide technical support and warranty, and sometimes even affordable internet and digital learning opportunities.
Success stories happen every day. Recently, a large Midwest-based retail chain wanted to support the work of PCs for People, but the company already had a close relationship with a trusted ITAD vendor. Instead of turning away from this opportunity, the retail chain simply asked its current service provider ITAD to make some of the decommissioned computers available to PCs for People. The nonprofit then collected the computers after the ITAD vendor processed them. The computers were then refurbished and distributed to those in need. With a little creativity, anyone can win.
The question is not, “How?” The question is, “Do you want to?” Will your company join the thousands of people across the country who are choosing to use their e-waste to increase their ESG score in a safe, affordable and responsible way? I hope the answer is “Yes!”
Loren Williams is an account executive at ITAD/sourcing at the nonprofit PCs for People. For more information about partnering with PCs for People, email Loren Williams.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not imply endorsement by Resource Recycling, Inc. If you have a topic you would like covered in an editorial, please send a short proposal to [email protected] for exam.