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Enterprise sustainability practices not up to par, study finds

Enterprise sustainability practices not up to par, study finds

June 16, 2020
Lloyd Fuller

Companies are failing to be as sustainable as they could, especially when it comes to end-of-life equipment and e-waste, according to new research released by Blancco Technology Group in partnership with Coleman Parkes

The research looks at the industry standard in data erasure and mobile device diagnostics as well as corporate sustainability practices.

It finds that 83% of organizations having a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in place, however many practices in place do not promote sustainability.

Two main issues are at the core of this. One is a sharp increase in e-waste and the other is enterprises not responsibly using cyber landfills.

According to the study, 39% of organizations physically destroy end-of-life IT equipment, believing this is ‘better for the environment’.

Furthermore, only 24% of end-of-life equipment is sanitized and reused. Blancco Technology Group notes that physically destroying IT assets, when accompanied by a certificate of destruction and a full audit trail, is a valid data disposal option when hardware has reached the end of its life.

However, if electronics are improperly disposed of and end up in landfill, the toxic or hazardous materials they contain, such as mercury and lead, can be harmful to the environment and anyone who is exposed to them.

As for cyber landfills, according to the research, there are more than 34 billion IT devices in the world generating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.

Research from Hewlett Packard Enterprise shows that only 6% of data created is currently in use and as a result 94% is in a cyber landfill.

This shows that many organizations have significant amounts of redundant, obsolete or trivial (ROT) data that is consuming valuable energy resources.

Why these issues exist comes down to two key points, according to Blancco Technology Group.

One key point is lack of education. The fact that organizations believe that physically destroying unfunctional or end-of-life equipment is ‘better for the environment’ highlights that there is a lack of ownership and communication.

Dealing with end-of-life equipment is part of the majority of organizations’ CSR policy (91%) but this isn’t being communicated or properly enacted across the business, the study states.

Lack of regulations globally also plays a critical role. In the USA alone, 22 states don’t have statewide e-waste laws, the study highlights.

Furthermore, despite the existence of the EU’s WEEE Directive and WEEE Regulations (2013), the UK missed its targets in 2018 and is one of the worst offenders for exporting waste to developing countries.

In order to rectify the issues and promote genuine sustainability for end-of-life equipment and e-waste, radical action and more robust regulations are needed, according to Blancco Technology Group.

“In today’s global climate, sustainability should be at the heart of every business’ strategy,” said Fredrik Forslund, Blancco vice president enterprise and cloud erasure solutions. “Yet, it’s clear from our research that organizations globally are not doing enough.

“Managing retired IT assets in a more environmentally friendly way and putting them back into the circular economy and removing unnecessary data in active environments should be best practice for all organizations.

“Furthermore, by actively looking at the data they hold as part of their data life-cycle management initiatives and regularly and securely removing the data they no longer need, organizations will not only reduce their energy consumption – but also remain compliant.”

E-Waste World Conference & Expo 2020 takes place from Wednesday 18 November to Thursday 19 November at the Kap Europa, Frankfurt Messe, Germany. To register for this highly focused, solutions-driven event, please click here. For sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, please email peter@trans-globalevents.com

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