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Research and Sustainability Partnerships
Bringing reuse into the mainstream is an important issue. ICT hardware contains a number of precious metals and rare earths that are in limited or insecure supply. Discovering ways to find best use of resources is complex and difficult, which is why we collaborate and contribute to a number of research and industry projects in this area.
Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Project (KTP) and the University of East London
Innovate UK is part of a national funding agency investing in research in the UK. Techbuyer and the University of East London are working on an exciting Innovate UK funded project with the aim of transforming the way data centre equipment is refreshed.
We are working with a knowledge transfer associate from the University of East London to develop a set of models and a tool that will allow in-depth understanding of hardware refresh cycles, environmental impact of such practices, and business case analysis.
The project will embed academic expertise within the company and result in an innovative business application.
Three year Interreg funded research project into advancing Circular Economy in the Data Centre Industry, this covers the UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. We became an official associate partner in November 2019. The aim of the project is to make the best possible use of resources in servers and has a specific focus on Critical Raw Materials. We got involved as refurbishment experts because it aligns with Techbuyer’s commitment to sustainability, supports the case for using refurbished equipment and selling to the secondary market. It is also good for raising our profile as industry experts.
Supporting the secondary market with Free ICT Europe
Free ICT Europe Foundation (FIE) is a not-for-profit foundation actively promoting the ICT Secondary Market within Europe. We work with the foundation to further reuse and improve legislation that allows companies to support the aftermarket. An example of this is the EU Eco-Design Legislation that was published late 2018, which mandated firmware be made publicly available to support server performance in second, third and subsequent lives with new users.
Circular 4.0: Data-Driven Intelligence for a Circular Economy
This is another three year project and is led by the University of Exeter. It looks at the crossover between digital, AI etc in manufacturing and the circular economy and examines how digital helps and also hinders in terms of materials use. We are likely to be a remanufacturing case study in the project, which gets Techbuyer’s name out in addition to publicising refurbished servers, storage and networking. Project partners are Airbus, Cisco, Riversimple, Manufacturing Technology Centre, Ellen Macarthur Foundation and Rolls Royce Plc.
Sustainability Research Institute at Leeds University
Quite a high profile organisation in terms of sustainability. We hosted a PhD student in 2017 who was looking at how businesses integrate sustainability into their business practice. We also attended a networking event which lead to an NHS Digital contact in 2018. In 2020, Techbuyer hosted an MSc student to write our progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals (“Global Goals”) report. We also hosted second year students in late 2019/ early 2020.
Circular Economy Strategy and Action Plan (Yorkshire)
This is a project run by North and West Yorkshire LEP and brings together local councils, community organisations and businesses from a wide range of sectors across the region. The idea is that we share information about Circular Economy and make it happen. This is a good networking opportunity for Techbuyer and raises the company profile locally. It has also led to our listing as a case study on the following website.
Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition
Techbuyer joined the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition – a group of local government, business and academic organisations that works towards driving down emissions in the local area – in 2019. The company sits on the energy reduction and renewables subgroup, which is developing a knowledge library to share with local residents and business and also hopes to put a flagship project in place as a means to inspire positive change.
Support the Goals
Techbuyer is an active member of Support the Goals, a group of businesses that support and promote the UN Sustainable Development Goals in the UK and Australia. The group offers companies a chance to share inspirational stories on how partnerships can help to make the world fairer, less polluting and more egalitarian. Find out more about how Techbuyer support the UN Global Goals on their web site.
Furthering the cause of reuse and product life extension is a topic close to our hearts. In December 2019, we joined cross party government think tank Policy Connect to share research and insights into innovative solutions to the waste stream and new attitudes towards remanufacturing. The organisation brings together academics, policy makers and business to chart a path towards better use of materials and a more sustainable business environment.