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Last year, over 327 million PCs were sold worldwide (Statista.com). Experts predict similar sales figures for the coming years. But the high number is not surprising: hardly any workplace can do without a digital end device, and each of us uses devices in our private lives in which PC components are integrated. A steadily increasing production of PC devices with fewer and fewer available resources is increasingly bringing the issue of sustainability to the consumer’s attention. Sustainable manufacturers of IT hardware are gaining social relevance, but at the same time, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find out which suppliers offer truly Green IT products.

In this blog post, we explore the question of what is truly sustainable IT hardware (Green IT). Additionally, we provide a guide to help you identify manufacturers that not only offer resource-saving and energy-efficient products, but also have aligned their entire business model with sustainable guidelines.

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What is Green IT?

Green IT refers to a particular category of environmentally friendly, high-quality and durable IT hardware. The basic idea behind Green IT is to use the available resources as sparingly as possible. For a product to be called “Green IT hardware,” the sustainability measures must extend over the product’s entire life cycle – from recyclable  materials and durable, replaceable and repairable components, to the disposal of the equipment and a Second Life Cycle Program.

 

Characteristics of a Green IT Manufacturer

A fully sustainable IT hardware manufacturer not only offers environmentally friendly products but also aligns all of its business activities with sustainable guidelines that affect every aspect of the company. Whether it’s employees, events, company cars or recycling, a manufacturer that goes beyond its products can also truly drive social change. Employees and their leaders play a unique role in this. It is crucial to create a positive, purposeful and transparent atmosphere to create a good breeding ground for social and environmental impact.

Darkgreen, lightgreen, brown guide

Dark Green, Light Green, Brown: Identify Truly Sustainable IT Manufacturers With This Tool

One way to determine whether an IT manufacturer is genuinely sustainable or just using a “green label” to generate more sales is to use the “dark green – light green – brown” assessment tool.

With the help of these categories, which we explain below, it is easy to assess whether an IT manufacturer is a genuine Green IT company, whether it only operates sustainably in some areas, or whether the manufacturer’s business model completely neglects sustainability.

Three aspects in particular are scrutinised: the manufacturer’s business model, its corporate culture and communication, as well as evidence of sustainable production and, of course, the environmental compatibility of the products.

 

Dark Green: The Only Truly Sustainable Green IT Manufacturer

The dark green category is the highest category in which an IT hardware manufacturer can be classified. For a company to be able to call itself “dark green,” it has to fulfil several requirements. For example, sustainability must be anchored in the company’s DNA, which can be read in their corporate values. However, sustainability should not be limited to transparent corporate communication but should be an integral part of the manufacturer’s strategy and business model. However, sustainability on paper is useless as long as the words are not put into practice. Therefore, you should also ensure that a “dark green” IT hardware manufacturer commits to implementing sustainability goals on an ecological and ethical level and acts according to the corresponding guidelines. However, it is also essential that the company offers products that are of exceptionally high quality and meet high environmental standards. You can recognise such products, for example, by the fact that they are climate-neutral and that the products have an extended warranty. These features also guarantee a long product life cycle, so you can be sure that you have an exceptionally environmentally friendly product.

What Makes an IT Manufacturer “Dark Green”:

2207 Recognize Sustainable IT-Hardware

Light Green: Well-Intentioned but Ultimately Missing the Mark

In the light green category are manufacturers who have already implemented sustainable measures in certain areas of their business. However, their impact is far too small for the company’s activities and products to positively influence the environment and society. Priority is given to implementing only what is necessary to use the “sustainable” label in corporate communications. Companies operating in the “light green” category are concerned with reducing their carbon footprint in Scope 1 and 2. Still, since their emissions in Scope 3 are not yet offset, the company’s carbon footprint remains considerably high, as 90% of emissions occur on average in Scope 3. Many manufacturers of IT products advertise environmental protection and nature conservation as these are issues that are becoming increasingly important to people. Unfortunately, most products marketed as “sustainable” and “green” are nowhere near as environmentally friendly as the manufacturers communicate.

What Makes an IT Manufacturer “Light Green”:

  • Offsets emissions in Scope 1 and 2
  • Emissions in the supply chain (Scope 3) are disregarded – but this is where most of them occur
  • Transparent communication regarding CO2 footprint including reporting
  • Use of sustainable materials and packaging
  • Second Life Cycle Program and accredited reuse of PC components

 

Brown: If You Care About the Environment, Stay Away From These Products!

For manufacturers of IT products in the “brown” category, sustainability is not anchored in the business model. There is no transparent communication about how much CO2e the hardware will consume during production and the next five years of operation, and there are no clear ambitions toward climate protection.

What Makes an IT Manufacturer “Brown”:

  • No efforts to introduce any climate protection measures or offer resource-saving IT hardware.
sustainable it

Conclusion

Not everywhere that says “green” or “sustainable” is environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, there is still no certification that allows you to see at a glance whether an IT manufacturer is a company that acts in the sense of sustainability and thus social and ecological responsibility. The key here is to take a critical look at the IT manufacturer’s practices (e.g. check its communication on the official website) and look for evidence of compliance with environmental protection measures. The Dark Green – Light Green – Brown guide can help you identify the proper manufacturer of truly Green IT hardware.

 

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  • For a product to be called “Green IT hardware,” the sustainability measures must extend over the product’s entire life cycle.
  • A fully sustainable IT hardware manufacturer aligns all of its business activities with sustainable guidelines that affect every aspect of the company.
  • With the “dark green – light green – brown” assessment tool it is easy to assess whether an IT manufacturer is a genuine Green IT company, whether it only operates sustainably in some areas, or whether the manufacturer’s business model completely neglects sustainability.
  • Three aspects in particular are scrutinised: the manufacturer’s business model, its corporate culture and communication, as well as evidence of sustainable production and, of course, the environmental compatibility of the products.
  • The dark green category is the highest category in which an IT hardware manufacturer can be classified.
  • In the light green category are manufacturers who have already implemented sustainable measures in certain areas of their business, but the impact is far too small for the company’s activities and products to positively influence the environment and society.
  • For manufacturers of IT products in the “brown” category, sustainability is not anchored in the business model
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