Sustainability is riding high on the consumer and business agenda. Increasingly, many of the choices available to make business operations more sustainable concern the IT department.
That’s because e-waste is a huge deal. Products such as PCs, laptops and smartphones represented 1% of the world’s carbon footprint in 2007, but this figure has already tripled and is on its way to exceed 14% by 20401.
When it comes to making sustainable choices, considerations for businesses should not just account for the carbon footprint of a device during the product use phase but over the entire product lifecycle. This means acknowledging that carbon footprint is not a one-time measurement. It’s an assessment of everything over the entire product lifecycle, from the sourcing of the raw materials, to the product manufacturing, transportation, use and end of life processing. Canon estimates that 60% of the carbon footprint arises from the early raw material sourcing and manufacturing stages2. As a result, business should account not just for the in-use phase carbon footprint of a device, but also its footprint through its entire lifecycle.
This is where remanufactured and refurbished devices come in. Both are great methods of breathing new life into existing hardware and components, thereby reducing total environmental impact over the long-term, and contributing to the circular economy. But the two shouldn’t be confused as they’re fundamentally different. Here’s why.