Build Your Reputation While Saving the Planet

Becoming a more ecofriendly organization not only improves the environment, it can also improve an organization’s public image, which can bring in more consumers and allow the organization to thrive. Large organizations have begun announcing their goal to become carbon neutral or carbon negative with their creation, operating, and disposition processes. Many organizations have latched onto the trend and made efforts to improve their IT asset disposal processes and be more environmentally aware. When an IT Asset Management (ITAM) professional adopts environmentally friendly disposal practices into their IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) program, the organization can reap the benefits.

Proper ITAD matters

In the past, organizations disposed IT assets in ways that were harmful. They would have assets shipped overseas and thrown into landfills because there was no regulations and it was less expensive to dispose assets that way. This was problematic because IT assets contain dangerous chemicals like Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, Hexavalent Chromium, and others. These toxic chemicals need to be disposed in a way where it does not harm any individual or any wildlife. Throwing assets carelessly away, like in a trash or dumped somewhere outside, is hazardous because the chemicals may ooze into the environment and reach groundwater, poisoning the water and hurting the environment and people nearby.

Luckily, the old methods have drastically changed. There are now different methods and measures that organizations take to dispose their assets ethically and safely. These methods fall into the Key Process Area (KPA), Disposal Management. KPAs are processes that an ITAM program needs to have to be successful. The Disposal Management KPA focuses on the end of the asset’s lifecycle and how to correctly remove the asset from the organization. Organizations have implemented ITAD programs, which help them follow compliance regarding disposal procedures, keep the environment clean, find cost-savings, and protect the organization’s data. ITAD programs are designed to keep the environment safe along with the organization.

ITAD benefits

Not only will the environment be protected and improved, but the organization will get other benefits as well. Creating and following a proper ITAD program can:

  • Attract more consumers: Helping to protect and care for the environment has become an important goal for the public. This has led to consumers choosing ecofriendly organizations over ones that are not. The consumer feels good about choosing an ecofriendly organization’s services or products because it is their way of doing their part to make the earth cleaner and safer
  • Improve the organization’s image: If it is revealed that an organization is harming the environment by poorly disposing or maintaining IT assets, they experience public backlash and embarrassment. They may also be boycotted by consumers, who will proceed to encourage others not to use their services or product. These actions have ruined organizations. Clean ITAD practices will lead to opposite results. Since ecofriendly organizations are viewed in a positive light, consumers will prefer it to others, which will cause the organization will become more widely known
  • Decrease data security risk: Supporting data security initiatives and mitigating risk is a priority IT Asset Managers have. A big part of properly disposing an asset means ensuring that the data on the device is wiped or secured. If an asset is carelessly thrown away, the data is vulnerable to being hacked and discovered. This makes it even more vital to dispose an asset correctly
  • Improve cost-savings: Organizations are now actually able to earn money from disposing assets correctly. There are vendors that will purchase IT assets from organizations for the purposes of recycling, refurbishing, and harvesting parts. Having assets disposed in this way will bring money back to the organization, which will increase the Return on Investment (ROI) and decrease the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). On top of bringing money back into the organization, disposing through vendors can also cause an organization to establish good business relations and create other networking opportunities
  • Ensure compliance is being followed: Following ethical disposal practices will mitigate the risk of broken compliance. Many of the practices that are safe for public health are also compliant, so when an IT Asset Manager spends the time learning how to safely dispose assets, they will also learn what procedures are compliant. If the IT Asset Manager is unsure if a disposal practice is compliant, they should investigate further to see if it is or not
  • Improve the environment: When an organization chooses to ethically dispose, they are making the earth a healthier, cleaner place. It is something small an organization can do that will have a big, positive impact
  • Instate the feeling of pride for being an environmentally conscious industry leader: The organization can feel good for doing something that is good for everyone. Not only will the organization get a positive image, they will also get employees that are happier and be inspired to work harder. When employees to know that their organization is ethical, it improves their quality of work life because they know they are a part of something bigger. Potential employees will choose the organization over other hiring organizations
Make the most of ecofriendly ITAD

In order to make these benefits a reality and make the most of them, the IT Asset Manager can:

  • Investigate disposition options: Vendors have different resources and options available. From parts harvesting, redeployment, refurbishing, recycling, etc., there are all kinds of ways to dispose assets in an ecofriendly way. Consider the organizations needs before choosing a disposition method. Is the organization wanting to find cost-savings? A method that will bring money back into the organization may be the best choice to take. Does the organization have a long-term goal of reducing their carbon footprint? An option that will most thoroughly reuse or recycle each part of the asset may be desired. Learn about different options to see what is most suitable for the organization. Remember to ensure thorough data security methods will be performed
  • Adapt best practice disposition practices into the ITAM program: If an organization has no ITAD program, the IT Asset Manager may need to create and implement one. When creating the program, first, consider what the organizations goals are and prioritize them. Is improving the financial state the biggest goal? Was there an unsuccessful audit and maintaining compliance is now priority? When mapping out disposition procedures, keep these goals in mind. The program should be created to match these goals. Make sure that the disposition methods are safe for public health and the environment to gain public attention
  • Look for other ways to improve disposition processes: While the established ITAD practices may be effective and safe, there is a chance the processes could be altered to be even more ecofriendly. The IT Asset Manager may need to spend some time reviewing the ITAD program and revamping what can be improved
  • Meet with marketing: Once an ITAD program is altered to more ecofriendly measures, meet with the marketing team to discuss ways to get the word out. The marketing team will use their outlets to inform consumers about the efforts, using their skills to appeal to consumers. This will make it so the word spreads fast and gains positive attention

Ecofriendly organizations are the ones that gain positive popularity. When an organization is environmentally conscious and an IT Asset Manager implements a strong ITAD program, they can enjoy the countless benefits.

References:

Moon, M. (2020, August 06). Microsoft wants to operate with ‘zero waste’ by 2030. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.engadget.com/microsoft-zero-waste-2030-120029409.html