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Connecting with the Kiwi Circular Economy

Chris Pooley, Sales Director APAC Jul 18, 2018

Ok, so it is a little geeky to admit, but when we read New Zealand’s Sustainable Business Network’s report “The Circular Economy Opportunity for Auckland”, we were delighted. This may mean we need to get out more; it also means our business is well suited to Kiwi thinking, which is something to be pleased about.

Although the focus was on food, transport and the built economy, many of the issues raised apply just as much to IT hardware. All sectors have high waste, high cost and heavily polluting activities in common, meaning they all benefit from a circular approach. Adopting one represents potential increase to the city’s Gross Domestic Product of between $6.3 - $8.8 billion by 2030, according to the report. This is something we will be very keen to explore as soon as the New Zealand and Australia offices are open later this year.

Thought leadership

The global economy uses one and a half times the amount of resources that are sustainable for the for the earth long term. According to the report, the figure for developed economies is much higher: between three and four times. This means adopting circular economic models here is much more urgent than in developing nations. The report suggested several ways of doing this that mirror the Techbuyer approach and it will be interesting to see if we can make some of these work in our new location:

One suggestion was to “partner with system thinkers and academic research institutions to refine and apply circular economy thinking to their sector” – we are already in contact with researchers at a number of UK Universities on the possibility of proving and expanding the refurb model. It will be great to see what new avenues will be open once the Auckland and Melbourne facilities are open.

Another idea was to “develop the infrastructure required to support a circular economy” -  this is something we in the refurb sector feel we have a lot to contribute to. Developing reverse supply chains, market controlled pricing and a skilled workforce to put equipment back into the use cycle is something that companies like Techbuyer have been doing for years, and we are looking forward to sharing what we’ve learned as well as hearing from others what we could do with our office and food waste.  

A third piece of advice was to “adopt new circular business models” – we have offered a lifetime warranty for a long time now and are looking at ways of developing this into a product-as-a-service model. It will require partnerships with logistics providers and service providers and is something we are keen to explore in the new market.  

The changing face of procurement

Sustainable procurement, or as the report puts it “smart procurement”, is seen as best practice for the future. With a focus on delivering value for the organisation, society and environment, it means Auckland companies will be increasingly aware of the benefits of avoiding the need for virgin materials and minimising carbon emissions at the manufacturing stage. This, combined with a focus on low cost, high quality equipment, makes the area a great market for us.

Fishing out of the waste stream

Another recommendation of the report is discouraging landfill with an increased waste levy. It says that a raise from $10 per tonne to $140 per tonne could deliver up to $500m in net benefits to the economy each year and create up to 9,000 jobs. This is something that Techbuyer can really help with by buying old IT equipment and putting it to good use elsewhere in the economy.

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