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Making Circularity Good Business: Techbuyer Collaborates with the University of Leeds

Charlie Collett, Content Writer Nov 06, 2019

Today, it’s difficult to think about business without also thinking about the circular economy. Each week brings another business announcing their dedication to minimising packaging production, including Evian pledging to become carbon neutral by 2020 and adidas’ 100% recyclable running shoe which is “Made to be Remade”. The take-use-waste model which previously dominated production is gradually being rejected, and circularity is becoming good business sense.

Our visit to University of Leeds earlier this week confirmed that Higher Education is an important contributor to the circular economy. Through its excellent research, analysis of how businesses and sustainability work together in harmony, and a range of innovative courses, University of Leeds is just one university ensuring students graduate with a great understanding of how the future world of business can work more sustainably.

Last week, myself and Astrid Wynne, Sustainability Manager were invited onto the University of Leeds campus to give a presentation about Techbuyer and the circular economy. We presented to 60 second year BA Environment and Business students - 18 of whom will be chosen to examine Techbuyer – and outlined our core business, why refurbishing data centre equipment is a great alternative to producing new hardware, and the changes already put in place to increase the sustainability of our company. Following this, the chosen 18 students will analyse our business structure and suggest ways to improve different areas of our operations.

One thing we asked students to consider is the global aspect of Techbuyer; we now have seven locations including offices in the UK, Europe, USA and Asia Pacific, and 150 staff worldwide. This number is set to grow and so ensuring our circular approaches can be replicated across all our sites is crucial. This is just one area where a student could offer great insight.

After our presentation, we went across campus to visit Dr Jyoti Mishra, who is an associate professor in Information Management at the Business School. Last summer, one of Jyoti’s MSc graduates carried out research into why companies choose refurbished equipment over new. In the report of his findings, the graduate noted that warranties, reliability and performance are often key reasons why businesses opt for refurbished hardware, rather than environmental benefit. After the success of this project, we are now coming up with ideas for another summer project that focuses on a different aspect of data centre equipment and the circular economy.

Working with local education bodies like University of Leeds is a great way to enable undergraduates to work on a real business case, collaborate across different sectors and ensure that we are all working together as a region to boost the circular economy. It is also a great way to contribute to Goal 4: Quality Education of the UN Global Goals and ensure we are making the world a more sustainable place. We’re looking forward to continuing to work with universities and seeing the impact we can make together.

Techbuyer is a global leader in the buying, selling and refurbishing of data centre equipment. We are dedicated to promoting sustainability and the circular economy within the IT industry and demonstrating that redundant IT hardware has real value. To find out more about our commitment to circular practices, read about our Global Goals targets here.