Corporate e-waste is the inevitable reality of modern business. But by getting the disposition right, you can make it part of your green pitch. 

We generate more electronic waste today than ever before in history. Data centers, IoT technology, smartphones, ventilation equipment, GPS systems — the list is endless and growing. The Americas alone produced 13.1 metric tonnes (Mt) of e-waste in 2019. In just four years, the global e-waste management market is projected to hit $40 billion.

But the need to recycle electronics does not only present an opportunity for those of us in business to provide those services to you. With corporate sustainability rising in importance, there is a good case for making the way you choose to part with your retired electronics part of your company’s green pitch. 

Interestingly, although a KPMG survey shows North American companies have the highest rate of sustainability reporting in the world, one study found many firms have not linked their e-waste management with their sustainability strategies practices. This suggests there’s an untapped business opportunity to turn your efforts to correctly discard and reduce corporate e-waste into a sustainability — and competitive — advantage. 

Since our reliance on technology is as inevitable as the need to eventually upgrade to something newer and better, you could choose to spotlight how your company is taking a responsible and environmentally sound approach to the disposal of your corporate e-waste.

Consider the following points and potential benefits of correctly tackling the corporate e-waste challenge:

Improving business perception

KPMG notes more and more companies are taking ESG reporting — the disclosure of data that details a business’s impact and added value in the areas of environment, social, and corporate governance — beyond industry and SEC requirements. The stakes are real. KPMG writes: “ESG reporting can impact access to capital and the ability to attract new investors. It can allow companies to understand risks that threaten their business model, help build customer loyalty and affect competition for top talent.”

Our take: A corporate e-waste management plan that demonstrates how your business is making a concerted effort to reduce its carbon footprint and minimize its environmental impact can, based on the above assessment, affect how you are evaluated and perceived by prospects and investors. 

Joining the circular economy

A Brookings Institution survey of 40 companies with a strong record of sustainability found 80 percent cite business-case drivers for integrating sustainability into their business strategies. While those companies said the focus was rooted in an effort to maximize growth opportunities and minimize risk, a few had also moved their corporate strategy beyond financial returns to a values-case by adopting a corporate values or purpose statement.  

Our take: The Brookings survey captures two trends that are bound to grow even stronger and confirms the KPMG observation that sustainability initiatives can give companies a competitive edge. In the realm of electronics recycling, it could mean working with an R2-certified partner that takes its commitment to environmental and social goals well beyond industry standards

A partnership that aligns with your corporate strategy can give you an opportunity to extend your organization’s sustainability practices to include corporate e-waste and market your business as an active participant in the circular economy. 

Leading the sustainability charge

Big players like Apple and Amazon have both vowed to make their supply chains and products carbon neutral by 2030 and 2040, respectively. Their pledges have come amid calls for an industrywide reckoning and increased focus on the impact large companies can have in solving the growing electronic waste challenge. 

Our take: With the alarms sounding on the role of e-waste in climate change, it’s easy to realize the power of sustainability as a business pitch. Again, one of the most effective ways organizations of all sizes can lead the sustainability charge is to responsibly recycle their discarded corporate electronics. 

And, as you’re doing so, why not let end-consumers and business partners know you’re pulling your weight in tackling the global e-waste challenge?

Do you need help setting up a plan for your corporate e-waste? We have the certifications and expertise to create and execute your new plan. It’ll be good for your business — and the environment. 

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