3stepIT Sustainability Report 2019 - Page 14

Packing IT equipment tightly and only shipping in pallet loads
also helps us decrease waste and reduce greenhouse gas
emissions and fuel costs. Our minimum order quantity for
desktops is a full pallet, usually about 40 devices. Our customers
can still select products like laptops and phones individually
because they can be mixed and packed tightly on a pallet.
To further improve shipping densities and save material, 3stepIT
has developed smart packaging for IT equipment. This maximises
the use of space while protecting equipment during transportation.
We educate our customers and logistics partners to work with
these methods, increasing efficiency across our operations.
Some of our offices have e-scooters that any employee can
borrow for travel to meetings. They are typically used to visit
clients, providing faster travel with a lower environmental
impact compared to a car struggling through inner-city traffic.
To further decrease emissions from work-related travelling and
commuting, we encourage virtual meetings and remote work
wherever possible. As you would expect, our people are fully
equipped with the technology to make this possible, wherever
they are located.
Of course, we also minimise the use of paper, sorting and
recycling our waste in our offices. Our refurbishing centres
salvage the paper left in returned printers and copiers to cut
down on new paper use.
Office environmental accreditations
It is not enough to stand still. We need to continually improve
our green credentials. Our headquarters and logistics centres
are all ISO 14001 certified. This is the international standard
for effective environmental management and requires
demonstrable annual progress.
We lead by example and encourage environmentally-friendly
behaviours in our daily work.
We only sell our refurbished devices to countries with effective
e-waste regulatory regimes. In 2019, we sold over 99% of
devices refurbished in Europe to European destinations,
reducing the energy consumption and CO2 emissions required
for export. Devices refurbished in Malaysia and Singapore
went to local traders.
The Circulars 2019
The Accenture Strategy Award for
Circular Economy Multinational
Our offices
In 2020 we will go a step further, introducing the programme to
all our refurbishing centres to reach a target of 10,000 devices
saved from being scrapped or recycled prematurely.
Selling to responsible countries
orum and The
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The scheme was a huge success so, in 2019, we rolled it out to
all refurbishment production in Sweden and Vantaa, Finland.
Repairing rather than scrapping 2,348 devices in Sweden boosted
our 2019 resale rate. In the process, the repair team developed
new techniques to avoid scrapping devices with a wider range
of faults. Towards the end of the year, this approach had the
potential to improve around 80% of devices going through our
refurbishment centres. After salvaging every possible spare part,
we recycle what’s left to ensure we extract the maximum value
from all our devices.
We are also implementing our own framework to drive
innovation, adapting the LEAN principles, which aim to eliminate
waste and inefficiency, to mirror the needs of our organisation.
When selecting our recycling partners, we only choose those
with high environmental standards. The recycling partners we
use in Finland, Norway and Sweden are all ISO 14001 and ISO
9001 certified.
Our service was recognised as an ‘Efficient Solution’ by the
Solar Impulse Foundation, for how it helps businesses protect
the environment in a profitable way. This organisation
aims to bridge the gap between ecology and the economy
by recognising solutions that combine environmental
protection with financial viability. Recognised solutions
must be both practical and affordable, fixing problems while
offering opportunities for clean economic growth. The threemonth certification process is rigorous, involving a detailed
examination by a panel of independent experts. Around two
thirds of applications fail. The fact we succeeded is testament
to the economic and environmental credentials of our circular
economy business model.
Refurbishing IT with new parts can be expensive. To tackle
the problem, in 2017 we piloted a repair programme at our
refurbishing centre in Klavreström, Sweden. Our team developed
innovative techniques to salvage usable parts from even the most
damaged devices. For example, a screen from a permanently
locked phone can be used to repair a functional phone with a
shattered screen. In 2019, the Klavreström repair programme
improved the quality of 8,612 lower-grade devices.
There was an impressive range of ideas. Some concerned
individual roles while others sought to improve operations. We
implemented the most straight-forward, low-cost suggestions
before the end of 2019. Those requiring more investment will be
evaluated fully in 2020, with some being implemented before the
year is out.
We choose our trading partners carefully, prioritising longterm relationships so we know exactly where our refurbished
equipment ships. Our partners are an important part of our green
strategy so we run detailed background checks to make sure they
meet our high standards on anti-money laundering, bribery and
modern slavery. We repeat the check annually when contracts
are renewed.
Using old parts to make new
Towards the end of 2019, we ran Quality & Sustainability sessions
in all our European refurbishing centres, including training and
workshops to generate fresh thinking on how we can improve.
Most of those eligible attended, working together to produce 167
improvement suggestions.
Our partners also play an important role in ensuring the
responsible end-of-life treatment of used devices. This includes
both trading partners who buy refurbished devices and recycling
partners that process unusable devices as raw material.
We were Highly Commended in the Circular Economy Awards
organised by the World Economic Forum. We were awarded Best
Sustainable IT Finance by Capital Finance International, with
judges remarking on our strong progress. We also won a Global
Good Award in the Circular Economy category.
To reduce waste and minimise the environmental footprint
of packaging, we reuse incoming plastic packaging for the
refurbished product leaving our centres.
Getting ideas from the shop floor
We were accredited with a Silver Ecovadis Sustainability Rating
for 2019, rating our performance in environment, ethics, labour
and human rights, and sustainable procurement.
In collaboration with Accenture Strategy
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Reducing packaging waste and
transportation emissions
We are very proud that our
environmental credentials were
recognised with several awards
and certifications during 2019.
Every business should use its
purchasing power to promote its
environmental goals. In 2019, we
began reviewing the sustainability
credentials of suppliers - including
working conditions - before
contracting them. We are planning
to use this assessment to review all
new suppliers from 2020 onwards.
Awards and
An init
Our supply chain
Future improvements
We’ve made some great progress improving our environmental
impact but we know there is always more to do.
In 2020, we will:

Automate the quote process when buying used equipment

Complete our repair programme roll-out
Develop and deploy a trader portal
Reduce the time devices spend in the refurbishing process
Improve customers’ environmental reports and deliver these to
everyone as standard (currently they are optional)
These innovations will help grow buy-in volumes, reduce
recycling by increasing the number of devices we can refurbish,
improve our service and speed-up device sales.


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