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
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