How to Use Your IT Asset Disposition Program to Support Corporate ESG Efforts

With respect to corporate environmental, social, & governance initiatives, IT has a vital role to play; particularly with asset disposal activities.

What is ESG and Why is it Important?

ESG is a framework that helps customers, employees, suppliers, and investors understand how an organization manages risk and opportunities related to environmental, social, and governance factors. ESG is becoming increasingly important as the world faces challenges related to climate change, racial and gender inequalities, and transitioning from linear to circular economies. Organizations are looking for ways to balance these societal needs with economic needs.

Since the beginning of the decade, the number of organizations incorporating ESG factors into their reporting has been rapidly growing. This is especially true among publicly traded companies. Investors are interested in companies with ESG reporting standards because they are seen as less risky and often provide a better rate of return.

How Does ESG Affect the IT Department?

The IT department can play a significant role in supporting corporate ESG efforts. “Gartner expects that by 2025, 50% of CIOs will have performance metrics tied to the sustainability of the IT organization,” according to their September 2022 article on sustainable technology. Gartner states, “Sustainable technology is a framework of digital solutions that can enable ESG outcomes for the enterprise and its customers.” This means the IT department will be responsible for helping to tie information from company systems together or even sourcing new systems to track ESG data. Examples of data needed include supply chain, energy, material efficiencies, emissions, real-time performance analysis, fair labor practices, and customer preferences.

IT departments may not have tackled ESG reporting yet, but they already perform IT Asset Disposition (ITAD), which supports ESG factors. It makes sense to create sustainable practices within asset management and make a positive impact rather than a negative one. E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. In 2020, Global E-Waste Monitor reported that 53.6 million metric tons of global e-waste were generated in 2019; and by 2030, that number is estimated to reach 74 metric tons. Sustainable ITAD programs can help reduce e-waste and support corporate ESG efforts.

Partner with an ITAD Vendor that Supports the “E” of ESG

Working with an ITAD vendor that supports the “E” of ESG is critical. Your company can achieve environmental benefits by hiring an ITAD provider certified by e-Stewards to responsibly de-manufacture devices and send materials to qualified downstream recyclers.

While it makes sense to recycle assets with low value due to age or condition, used commercial-grade equipment in good working condition has resale value. ITAD providers with knowledge of your asset classifications along with established connections in global markets, dealer channels, and retail outlets like eBay, Amazon, and their own marketplace can extend your retired IT assets’ life. These activities reduce the consumption of natural resources and pollution while also adding profit to your company’s bottom line. As a reminder, verify if the ITAD vendor is certified in removing sensitive data from the equipment before reselling it.

Consider How an ITAD Partner Can Assist in the “S” of ESG

ITAD vendors can also assist with the “S” of ESG. Another option for disposing of assets in an environmentally responsible manner is donating them or the resale value they generate to charity. Helping close the digital divide for underprivileged groups by giving them used assets or the profit from resold assets is a sign of your company’s commitment to the social aspect of ESG. Also, keep in mind that ESG involves working with responsible suppliers. Use these principles to assess your ITAD provider’s community involvement, donations, employee engagement, and industry memberships.

How ITAD Supports the “G” of ESG

ITAD vendors that maintain certifications and provide you with detailed asset reporting demonstrate the “G” principles of ESG. Governance refers to the rules by which an organization is run. ITAD providers that possess certifications demonstrate a high level of governance in managing data security risks, complying with environmental regulations, and maintaining high-quality operations. Earning certifications requires robust record-keeping and audits from third-party certification bodies.
When an ITAD provider operates with governance in mind, they will be transparent with each stage of asset processing including pick-up and inventory, data destruction, refurbishment, resale, and recycling. Some ITAD providers also utilize sustainability calculators for these activities which can be easily incorporated into your company’s ESG reporting.

In conclusion, the IT department can play a significant role in supporting corporate ESG efforts through sustainable technology and ITAD programs. By partnering with an ITAD vendor that supports environmental initiatives, your company can extend the life of assets, reducing e-waste and natural resource consumption. For companies that bolster their social efforts through asset donation programs, an ITAD vendor can manage logistics and reporting. Plus, a socially responsible ITAD provider can be a leading example within your supply chain. Finally, search out ITAD vendors that support your governance initiatives with certifications and detailed reporting. They will make your IT department’s job easier when it comes to corporate ESG reporting.

As ESG awareness and expectations rise in the coming years, companies that prioritize ESG efforts will be better positioned to attract and retain customers, investors, and employees.