Businesses buying IT equipment will soon be able to reduce their environmental footprints while, at the same time, saving money
This is possible through the growing market in remanufactured technology – used equipment that has been rebuilt, as good as new, with the same warranties and support as the very latest equipment,
At the moment, almost every piece of IT equipment bought by businesses is brand new, and so needs freshly-mined minerals and materials – often with serious environmental consequences. A partnership between Cistor and the University of East London is looking to change this. The team wants to promote remanufactured equipment as a way to embed circular economy principles into IT purchases and, at the same time, reduce purchase costs.
“Buying remanufactured IT equipment is a win-win,” explained Anthony Levy, the CEO and Founder of Cistor. “It’s greener, because the materials are already here, and so we don’t need any extra mining or processing. For the same reason, remanufactured technology is around 20% cheaper. And because this equipment has been remanufactured by the same people who originally built it, it makes businesses more resilient. It’s tried and tested kit, it comes with all the guarantees the new equipment has, but without the same risk of supply-chain shortages – something we’re all too familiar with in the Chipageddon chip shortage crisis.”
Cistor’s approach of keeping IT equipment going for longer has just received a vote of confidence from Innovate UK, the government research-support agency. Innovate UK have funded a new partnership for Cheshire-based Cistor to work with the University of East London. Together, this industry-academic collaboration will create a new tool to measure all the benefits that come from extending the life of technology. This will let businesses make informed choices and, in particular, work out how buying remanufactured equipment instead of brand new kit might help them meet their Sustainability goals.
“Our goal is to normalise buying non-new equipment,” added Anthony. ”By creating and sharing this tool to measure the impacts of IT equipment, we can keep critical rare earth minerals in the ground, reduce the embodied carbon created from constantly defaulting to new equipment, and significantly reduce e-waste.
“We already sell authorised remanufactured hardware in Europe, the UK and the USA. Our clients are the sort of people who don’t like to take risks with their IT: the Ministry of Defence, the NHS, law firms, universities and The London Stock Exchange. Now we’re keen to show the rest of the world – especially smaller businesses – how they can get the same benefits. And that means measuring everything really accurately and making that information freely available.”
The measurement will be led by the University of East London team. Working under Professor Rabih Bashroush, this group has a long track record of assessing the sustainability impact of IT, particularly for servers, but this will be the first effort to measure the impact of networking equipment. Networking equipment is a central part of modern life, and provides the backbone for everything we do online, from sending email to watching Netflix.
As there is such a large amount of networking equipment in use, this new Knowledge Transfer Partnership has the potential to create a huge impact through a widespread shift to remanufactured technology across datacentres, devices and network infrastructure.
The work is going to take 24 months to complete, as there are a lot of complexities to accommodate. But by the end of the project we will have a true picture of how IT equipment has an environmental impact both in its construction and its use, and how this varies across new networking equipment and remanufactured. It will demonstrate the environmental and economic opportunity to keep networking equipment in use for longer and inspire industry wide behaviour change, significantly reducing IT’s environmental impact.
Louise Whitaker, Head of Marketing and Sustainability at Cistor, said
“The platform that this Knowledge Transfer Partnership creates will be invaluable for businesses looking to align their ICT procurement and use with their wider sustainability goals. Businesses are increasingly focused on ambitions like Net Zero, circular economy, and zero waste, but without a way to measure their impact they’re going to struggle to act. We’re excited finally to be solving this problem.”
The KTP Associate position is currently being advertised and candidates are welcomed to apply: