Sustainability Matters Jun/Jul 2022

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The e-waste crunch Why Australian organisations need to move away from a discard mentality Michael Dyson, VP of Sales, APAC at SOTI

Balancing productivity with sustainability

devices has become essential

Does digital transformation overshadow sustainability intentions?

to managing mobile workers

For companies looking to advance their opera-

discarded as a preventive, precautionary

and increasing productivity.

tions through digital transformation projects, it

measure or because the latest and greatest

However, the increased use of mobile devices

is important to consider how moving to new

is also leading to higher levels of e-waste,

version is now available. Somewhere along

technologies will impact current or legacy

which has a direct impact on the environment.

the line, a mindset shift took place. Before,

systems or devices. After all, organisations

Globally, it’s estimated that 44 million tons

that publicly commit to strong action around

the focus was on having smartphones, tab-

of electronic goods are wasted each year —

sustainability might find they are not living

a number that only continues to rise. And

up to their ambitions if they routinely discard

in Australia, e-waste is the fastest-growing

electronic devices prematurely.


n today’s workforce the use of technology and mobile

component of the municipal solid waste

SOTI’s latest research report, Reduce, Re-

stream. While much is said about how we

use, Rethink: From Discard Mentality to Tech

as individuals and consumers can recycle

Sustainability, highlights the premature disposal

more effectively, attention also needs to

of devices in enterprise settings. In this report,

focus on the management and disposal of

it was found that 62% of Australian organisa-

enterprise-level technology devices.

tions agree the management and replacement

It’s very common for mobile devices to be

lets and other mobile devices last longer. Now, the focus is on how to get the newest device as quickly as possible. All of this raises a few questions: 1. Does having the latest device, at the expense of older devices which still perform as expected, help with end-user productivity and bottom line performance? Maybe. 2. Does having the latest hardware devices

Despite there being significant infor-

of workplace technology and mobile devices

mation around the functional operating

is an important environmental issue for their

lifespan of mobile devices and the benefits

business. However, in the same focus group

of extended usage, many businesses are

over half (52%) said that increasing the lifespan

prematurely disposing of devices. Organi-

of the hardware used within the organisation

sations are focusing on new upgrades and

was not a priority. This has highlighted a clear

fresh hardware, as opposed to maintaining,

gap between Australian organisations’ sustain-

updating, diagnosing and fixing the devices

ability ambitions and what they are actually

mobile devices good for the environment

they already have. So, why are companies

prioritising when it comes to reducing e-waste.

and helping with green IT initiatives?

not prioritising the reusability of their

So, while there does seem to be at least some

Absolutely not.

mobile devices, and how is this impacting

acknowledgement of this sustainability issue,

The challenge is how to balance produc-

their business and its ability to achieve

many organisations aren’t currently willing to

tivity with sustainability without defaulting

sustainability goals in the long run?

commit to action in this area.

to a discard mentality.

30 Sustainability Matters - Jun/Jul 2022

help with organisational prestige and perception? According to the report, 63% of Australian respondents say it does make their company more attractive to workers. 3. Is constantly replacing and discarding