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Five Attributes of IT Product Purchasing That Positively Impact the Environment

  Patrick Gamble     May 16, 2024

Five Attributes of IT Product Purchasing That Positively Impact the EnvironmentEnvironmental sustainability now matters. Many companies are adopting sustainability objectives to fulfill their duty to the environment, comply with regulations, enhance market competitiveness, realize cost savings, and meet investor expectations. An integral component of these sustainability efforts is making sustainable purchasing decisions.

For your benefit, WEI has identified five key attributes of IT product purchasing that are known to have a positive impact on the environment.

1. Product Packaging

The issue of e-waste is a significant concern, and for good reason. With the rapid advancements dictated by Moore's Law and now further accelerated by AI, computing devices quickly become obsolete, necessitating their disposal to accommodate new product cycles. Alongside e-waste, there's a related concern and that’s packaging waste. By adopting sustainable packaging, companies can diminish their environmental impact through waste reduction, resource conservation, and the use of recycled or biodegradable materials.

Packaging should prioritize renewable or recycled materials that are sourced through clean production technologies and, where feasible, renewable energy sources. Small details, such as avoiding chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons in foaming agents and steering clear of ozone-depleting substances in packaging materials, can have a significant environmental impact. For enhanced recyclability, companies committed to sustainability, like HPE, advise against the use of permanent adhesives that bind different materials together, facilitating easier separation and recycling at the product's end of life.

While transitioning to sustainable packaging may incur initial expenses, it promises substantial long-term savings. Streamlined packaging design not only cuts down on material and shipping costs through lighter and more compact packaging but can significantly lower waste management expenses.


Video: 5 Strategies To Support IT Performance & IT Sustainability

2. End-of-use Services

The fact that a computing device no longer meets your company's needs does not necessarily mean it has reached its end of life (EOL). To others, these IT products might still have significant utility. That is why extending the life of IT equipment, reducing environmental impacts, and making products accessible to more people through hardware repair and refurbishment programs should be a priority. Here are some notable examples:

  • Refurbishing and Reselling: This is the ultimate product extension as used IT equipment can be restored to working condition and sold again. This practice not only prolongs the lifespan of devices but also lessens the demand for new raw materials.
  • Donation Programs: An alternative is donating operational, used IT equipment to educational institutions, non-profit organizations, and communities in need, thereby maximizing the devices' usefulness.
  • Recycling Programs: For products beyond repair, various companies specialize in collecting non-functional electronics and their components. These entities then extract valuable materials for reuse in new products while ensuring the safe disposal of toxic substances.

Remember, equipment must be dismantled and recycled following Responsible Recycling (R2) standards. Given that many computing devices can retain data, it's crucial to either physically destroy the storage or wipe it clean to safeguard sensitive information. These data erasure processes should adhere to the Department of Defense 5220.22-M recommendations or exceed them to ensure the highest level of security.

Video: WEI Corporate Sustainability

3. Leasing and Managed Services

In addition to thinking about computing equipment at the end of the product cycle, consideration should be given to how your company obtains equipment in the first place. Opting for leased IT equipment and managed services can present substantial environmental advantages over the traditional buy-own-retire approach. Leasing promotes the reuse and recycling of equipment, as items are returned to the lessor at the end of the lease term. These can then be refurbished and leased again, prolonging the lifecycle of the products beyond just one user. Such leasing arrangements also drive manufacturers to create more durable and repairable equipment knowing that these items will be returned for potential re-leasing. This encourages an investment in quality and sustainable design, resulting in longer-lasting products that are simpler to refurbish.

When choosing a provider, it's crucial to consider not just the product, service, and price, but also their disposal capabilities and their commitment to strict business and process controls that comply with environmental regulations. Don’t forget to ask for the verification of secure disposal methods to assure data privacy.

Read: Four Efficiency Benefits Of IT Lifecycle Management

4. Supply Chain Responsibility

Many companies are scrutinizing their supply chains to enhance efficiency, reduce costs, and meet sustainability goals. This scrutiny should extend to the supply chain of your IT equipment vendors, as their practices significantly play a role in your own efforts to uphold social and environmental responsibilities.

In addition to your own direct sustainability efforts, look for suppliers at the forefront of sustainability. They should innovate with eco-friendly materials, leverage advanced recycling technologies, and/or design products that prioritize energy efficiency.

Choose suppliers that are subject to third-party audits and possess certifications from esteemed organizations that underscore their sustainability commitment. These certifications may cover environmental stewardship, social responsibility, or specific industry accolades. A practical starting point is to choose suppliers that adhere to the Responsible Business Alliance’s (RBA) Code of Conduct, formerly known as the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC). This code represents a comprehensive set of standards adopted across the electronics industry, highlighting a shared commitment to ethical practices and sustainability.

Watch this three-part the CUBE Executive Interview Series to learn how to make your enterprise more sustainable through innovative IT from AMD, HPE, and WEI.

Advancing Your Sustainable Future

5. Organizational Performance

A clear path toward environmental sustainability for any company involves establishing a policy that explicitly enforces eco-friendly practices. An environmental policy serves as the foundation for all the company's environmental actions and signals to clients and partners a commitment to sustainability.

For example, ensure that your suppliers maintain a written corporate environmental policy aligned with the comprehensive standards specified in the environmental policy section of ISO 14001. They should also have an Environmental Management System (EMS) that meets the requirements of ISO 14001 and reporting efforts should adhere to those same standards as well.


Yes, it all adds a little more effort to the purchasing process, but it's precisely these small, cumulative steps across the corporate world that lead to significant outcomes. Such efforts yield substantial dividends for the planet, acting as valuable investments in our collective environmental future.

Next Steps: Companies must roll up their sleeves and work proactively to address IT sustainability as IT leaders and the personnel they oversee face growing pressure to significantly reduce emissions. Download our free tech brief to learn more about these five proven sustainability strategies to serve as a starting point:

  1. Energy efficiency
  2. Equipment efficiency
  3. Resource efficiency
  4. Software efficiency
  5. Data efficiency

Download Now

Tags  corporate sustainability IT Strategy corporate responsibility it sustainability

Patrick Gamble

Written by Patrick Gamble

Serving as WEI's Digital and Content Marketing Manager, Patrick is a regular subscriber to the latest news and notes across the IT industry. He is always ready to share WEI's take on ground breaking technology solutions.

About WEI

WEI is an innovative, full service, customer-centric IT solutions provider. We're passionate about solving your technology challenges and we develop custom technology solutions that drive real business outcomes.

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