Circular Economy Award at IEMA: one for everyone

Friday 18th September was a good day for us. Techbuyer won Circular Economy Business of the Year at the IEMA Sustainability Impact Awards. It is recognition from a well known organisation that focuses on sustainable business practice. For Techbuyer, it is a company rather than a departmental award. Without listing all the near 200 names, these are the reasons…

Why we are happy about the IEMA awards

The IEMA is the professional body for everyone working, studying or interested in the environment and sustainability. With over 500 applications for over 21 categories, it is clear that this is becoming a mainstream interest. BP, Canary Wharf Group and Siemens are all corporate members. Arup, a multi-national professional services firm, were up against us in our category and had entered a number of others too. Sustainability is increasingly a business focus for many large organizations. So what put us ahead?

Why we are a circular economy business

Techbuyer is an example of product life extension – or keeping things in functional use for as long as possible – and we do this very well. Customers come back again and again to buy and sell IT equipment because of our quality service and the fact that devices perform as well as if not better than new. All the hard work of purchasing and ITAD bringing used IT equipment in, our goods in, test, data sanitization, inventory management, specialist sales consultation, configure to order services, builds and retests are what makes this particularly effective. Because we approach the process with professionalism and pride we are able to offer these services at scale. Techbuyer’s growth nationally and internationally demonstrates this.

Techbuyer is super circular

The IEMA Sustainable Impact Awards are about “Inspiration, Innovation and Transformation”. People at Techbuyer are in the habit of looking at what they do and asking how they can do better. We see this in our Goods Out department, who have successfully trialled new recyclable materials from packaging suppliers, as well as the work developing our packaging return scheme, and the regualr collection of bubble wrap, peanuts and foam from Goods In to send to a local community project. ITAD set aside crates of mice, keyboards, monitors and cables so they go to a reuse charity rather than recycling. Our repairs department are developing techniques and building specialist equipment to divert more and more IT components back into useful life.

In addition to this, Techbuyer is an active member of the Remanufacturing Industries Council here in the US and supported the application to have remanufacturing codes added to the federal list. In combination with the work chairing the Sustainability Special Interest Group at the Data Centre Alliance and contributions to government inquiries in the UK and Australia, Techbuyer is pushing for meaningful change worldwide.

We are able to help international research projects

We mentioned CEDaCI (Circular Economy in the Data Centre Industry) in the application, but there are others including Circular 4.0 run by the University of Exeter. The technical facility sets aside, stores and ships appropriate parts for testing. It also educates on effective stock management for a circular model. Very few other companies (if any) have as detailed information on how to strip down a server and rebuild for optimum performance. This is the kind of information our technicians and training department have passed on to researchers visiting us.

We develop circular business approaches

The decision making tool to increase energy efficiency and further reuse was mentioned when we won. Most people in the company know about the Knowledge Transfer Project with the University of East London via blogs and presentations given at industry events. However, it would not be possible without the support of numerous departments. Initial experiments needed the work of our server build team and were recorded by the marketing team. The significant amount of core data required to build the tool was painstakingly logged by our technical staff. Development is only possible with the help of our sales teams accessing their network of industry relationships.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals are important to us

The UN Global Goals was another area specifically mentioned in the judges’ comments and probably one of the company’s favourites. Our targets were agreed by members of HR, Sales, Marketing, Accounts and IT with approval from each on of our global offices. They are now run by a Sustainability Committee with representatives from all departments who are accelerating change. France and the US are getting in on the action with donations to education bodies in their areas, particularly as the Covid-19 pandemic is forcing more and more students to study remotely. The biggest challenge for the team running the framework is to keep track on this and ensure each action is logged against the targets. The Quality team are producing minor monthly miracles in this regard.

Why it’s me writing this

My desk is the crossroads for everything mentioned above and a few more things in the pipeline. It is my job to keep tabs on what is happening internally and find partners to help Techbuyer achieve its aims. The job is fun, rewarding and also a bit of a cheat. Sustainability at Techbuyer has been built from the ground up over the course of 15 years and is in its DNA. It was a delight to see this recognized on Friday.

Techbuyer is a global provider of sustainable IT solutions. From buying used IT equipment, to repairing and refurbishing IT devices, and fully configuring servers, we offer a wide range of services for your business. Find out more about our refurbished servers here. Or get in touch with our five-star rated team to see how we could maximise your IT budget today.