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Making Global Goals Local Business

Astrid Wynne, Sustainability Lead Dec 02, 2019

I have to come clean and admit I have pinched this title. The Global Goals roadshow this month, hosted by British Gas in Leeds had this as a tag line. It sums up the way we make daunting targets such as end extreme poverty, fight inequality and protect the planet feel manageable for those on the ground.

Techbuyer announced its support of the UN Global Goals in October this year. In common with many businesses, we selected a small number of goals to focus on in the first instance. Of the 17 separate goals signed up to by UN Member States in 2015, we decided we are in a position to make positive change in three areas: Good Health and Wellbeing (Goal 3), Quality Education (Goal 4) and Responsible Consumption and Production (Goal 12).  It is very early days, but progress is going well. However, aligning our progress into the every day focus of our global offices is a challenge going forward.

Our targets were very particular to our company and aim to include all the different job roles that make up Techbuyer. For example, saving money for health and education bodies are an integral part of the work of the sales department. Tonnage saved from landfill is something our purchasing department works on every day. Donating waste as resource and ICT to charities worldwide would not happen if it were not for the dedication of the people in our technical facility. Active hours towards the health and wellbeing of our colleagues and community are often carried out as cross departmental team building. Education of young people and organisations on sustainable technology is something we are able to do more and more as the business grows.

However, people accidentally helping fulfil the targets is not the same thing as actively supporting the idea of the Global Goals. Representatives from the Sales and Marketing departments were keen to represent the company at the recent Leeds roadshow. Having attended last year and been inspired, it was really great to see colleagues from different departments get involved. Both colleagues came back enthused, saying it was interesting to get an insight into the challenges faced by sustainability departments in other local organisations.

Members of the universities of Leeds and Sheffield, Leeds City Council and businesses gave their advice on how to encourage more people to get behind the goals as a concept. Ideas my colleagues came back with included making a document about the benefits of adhering to the Global Goals and hosting a competition such as who can sell the most refurbished product, or which overseas site can find the most waste solutions. They also discussed how disruptive activity  – in our case, launching something around shocking e-waste stats or data – can be really effective in the business world.

From experience, I would say disruptive activity certainly does get attention. The videos we have released about the growing e-waste problem do gain a lot of traction on social media. However, so do much more positive stories. Our Global Goals video (featured below) got a large amount of views, as did our recent article Untying the Circular Knot, which looked at some of the industry research projects aiming to device better ways to sustain resources. Bad news may get attention, but so do stories that show people a way out.

As part of the team that pushed Techbuyer’s support of the Global Goals, I would say this desire to have ideas on positive action is a big part of what makes them successful. They allow us to put real targets against the problems our world is facing and then measure progress against these. This is exciting because it removes the barrier between “little old us” and huge global problems. They are popular because they allow us to recognise what we do well and then challenge ourselves to do better.

Techbuyer is a specialist in the buying, selling and refurbishing of quality data centre equipment. With seven locations worldwide and an increasing staff turnover each year, we have demonstrated that sustainability is not just the right thing to do, but is also economically viable. To find out more about how we are reducing e-waste and creating quality IT solutions, check out our refurbished servers.


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