UN Global Goals are increasingly being translated into concrete action in German companies. This means Npvision Group, which handles used IT equipment for a number of large international companies, is extremely busy.

The UN Global Goals have started to change the way companies perceive their used IT equipment, says Niels Peter Holm, CEO and owner of Npvision Group, which buys and sells used IT equipment for a number of large international companies and public institutions.

It’s first and foremost UN Global Goal 12, which is about ensuring sustainable consumption and production practices, that is beginning to gain ground with companies.

“It’s no longer immaterial how you dispose of your used IT equipment. 10 years ago, companies paid to get rid of their used equipment. Today, more and more companies work strategically with UN Global Goals and integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle. Therefore, they are also beginning to view their used IT equipment as a resource in the circular economy, and therefore, there is also much more recycling than previously to the benefit of the environment and the company’s finances,” says Niels Peter Holm.

Financial gain
According to Niels Peter Holm, it is particularly the companies that manage to incorporate UN Global Goals into their business that succeed the most with the sustainable initiatives.

“It’s rare that you have good intentions of wanting the best for the environment and the climate. These intentions should also ideally have an impact on the company’s bottom line. If there is no financial gain to be had by working in accordance with UN Global Goals, then, unfortunately, there is not enough incentive to adapt,” says Niels Peter Holm.

Therefore, the point about the company’s profit from collaborating with Npvision Group is still the strongest, even though the CSR considerations are demanding more and more focus.

“When a company disposes of its used IT equipment via a partner like us, we can typically pass it on to other companies abroad who would like to use good-quality used IT equipment. This typically increases value creation in IT departments by 15–20%. In addition to this, the CSR department can put the collaboration in its report, which is becoming more and more important,” he says.

Greenlandic servers to England
Finance was also the primary motivation for Tony Ditlevsdal, Acting Head of the Agency for Digitisation under Greenland’s Self-Government, when the self-government entered into an agreement with Npvision Group earlier this year to resell the Agency’s used servers, as it was switching over to new IT solutions as part of a major modernisation of the IT infrastructure.

“We were going to just scrap them, but there was nothing wrong with them, so it’s fantastic that they can be given a new lease of life while we get back some of the taxpayers’ money from the sale,” says Tony Ditlevsdal.

The servers were shipped to Denmark, where they were cleared of data and refurbished before being resold to England, where they have been given new life.

“I’m positively surprised that we got such a good price for the equipment by selling internationally,” he says and continues:

“You may not think of Greenland as a country which exports used IT equipment to Europe, but it is the case. Now there are companies in the UK who operate their business on servers from Greenland’s Self-Government,” says Tony Ditlevsdal.

Used IT equipment should be sold sooner
However, it’s not only positive for the self-government’s economy that the servers did not end up as scrap. According to a UN report from 2017, the amount of electronic scrap is expected to increase to 52.2 million tonnes worldwide in 2021. Moreover, since only about 20% of this is recycled, so-called e-waste is the fastest growing waste problem in the world.

Furthermore, it’s not only out in the world that electronic waste is piling up. Although international companies are beginning to work more strategically with UN Global Goals, many companies are still somewhat behind EU targets when it comes to recycling IT equipment.

The latest figures show that less than 50% of all electronic waste is collected and recycled.

According to Niels Peter Holm, this trend can be reversed in a more sustainable direction if companies become better at disposing of their used IT equipment before it ends up as scrap.

“Companies are simply too slow at disposing of their used computers and smartphones. The equipment slides down through the hierarchy of companies and ends up in storage, where even the intern doesn’t bother to use the equipment – and then it’s too late. Then there is nobody apart from scrap dealers who can benefit from the equipment. We want companies to understand that they can sell their equipment before it’s completely worn out and that it can then get a new life and new users,” says Niels Peter Holm.

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