Sponsoring Harrogate Climate Action Festival
In the build up to COP 26 in Glasgow, climate change and sustainability became increasingly hot topics across the UK. In our region, a key part of this was the Harrogate Climate Action Festival, coordinated by the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition (HDCCC). We were on the original board of the HDCCC board, so we were involved in this festival from the start, including sponsoring the events to improve knowledge and engagement with these important topics.
The three-week series of events featured a range of discussions, presentations, and interactive exhibits from experts and organisations operating in the sustainability sector. It began on the 2nd of October with a community-focused launch before attention was turned to the private sector at a business-themed event. The festival was then wrapped up with a discussion about the likely impacts of climate change.
Community Launch Event
The first event saw over 30 sustainability-focused exhibitors convene at Harrogate College to meet with hundreds of visitors from across the local community. Throughout the day, guests could listen to expert speakers, create bike-powered smoothies, or visit exhibitions like a passive house and an electric converted campervan. They could also explore the tech fossil pit we created with our sister companies Ortial and Interact to highlight the huge amount of e-waste our digital habits create.
“You all made the event so wonderful, all we have had is positive feedback. Your exhibitions were engaging and clearly demonstrated the great work going on in the district. The public, press and others who attended genuinely went away with changed minds – that means a lot.”
Net Zero Business Conference
The second stage of the festival took place at Harrogate Convention Centre, where local businesses of all sizes were invited to learn about net zero and how they can work towards it. The day featured talks and demo booths from a range of businesses including Chameleon Technology, Bettys & Taylors of Harrogate, Yorkshire Water, Energy Oasis, and Techbuyer.
Our talk was delivered by Rich and Astrid from our Sustainability Team. They outlined the challenges of seeing technology as a magic solution to climate change with a breakdown of the environmental and social cost of new hardware, network and data centre usage. The embodied carbon from the production of electronics, social impacts of mining the composite materials, and the choice of networks and method of downloads are all important to consider.
Our booth, meanwhile, focussed on the challenges of refurbishing IT hardware. Alan from our IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) Team broke a laptop down into its components. Because this was a Dell laptop, each of these parts has a specific product code, which makes the refurbishment process considerably easier to complete. Unfortunately, not all manufacturers design their products for repair and refurb in this way, which limits efforts to reduce e-waste.
A Win-win Scenario
While events like these are a good opportunity to give back to our local community, they’re also crucial for all of us. This is our decade of action, and it’s vital that everyone – individuals, businesses, and governments – acts now to reduce emissions and begin our transition to net zero. This change isn’t just reserved for large corporates – over 60% of UK employees work at SMEs – so events like these are a great way of showing smaller organisations what they can do and what is available to help them.
As well as changing opinions and behaviours, there were lots of other benefits from this project. We sent representatives from several teams across Techbuyer, Interact, and Ortial, so this was a chance for cross-company teambuilding while contributing our time towards a cause we’re passionate about. It was also an opportunity to engage with and give back to our local community. This is especially important to us, as our area of business means our day-to-day activities are often focussed on large data-centre organisations and national governments. This led to several promising conversations, including outlining how our ITAD service can generate value from local councils’ old IT equipment and how we can help reduce businesses’ carbon footprints with refurbished hardware and the Interact server efficiency tool.