Tech waste constitutes a large amount of toxic chemicals being released to landfills, polluting air, water and soil with what is pretty much poison to living organisms. Consumers are making an effort to choose tech brands that promote environmental sustainability as opposed to brands that do not.
As the world crumbles and the population becomes more wary and cautious of the environment and as consumers concerns regarding the deteriorating environment increase, so do a lot of companies, especially tech companies. Tech waste constitutes a large amount of toxic chemicals being released to landfills, polluting air, water and soil with what is pretty much poison to living organisms. Consumers are making an effort to choose tech brands that promote environmental sustainability as opposed to brands that do not. In a global study, it was revealed that 81% of consumers believe brands should be making efforts to improve the environment.
And as such, many companies have taken this advice from consumers and are establishing themselves as a socially and environmentally responsible companies by maintaining an effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) to comply by. In fact, just last year, the famous Superbowl game showed a noticeable shift towards ethical movement with 22% of half-time ads displayed during breaks consisting of messaging promoting social and economic change for the better.
Climate Change Affecting Purchasing Behaviour
In Australia, nine in ten consumers and businesses have shown concern regarding increasing environmental sustainability and have taken measures to improve. However, only half of the consumer base believed businesses were doing enough. Makes sense though doesn’t it? Everybody down under seems to be trying to improve their environmental waste in some way, seeing as we experience the impact of global warming directing by constantly being greeted with crazy climate conditions!
I mean, the Climate Council of Australia reported 2018 as the fourth hottest year on record for surface temperatures, with temperatures sitting 0.9 and 1.1 degrees Celsius above average. And for our waters, 2018 was the hottest year on average. Let me tell you, we might like taking hot baths, but our sea life definitely doesn’t. But honestly, doesn’t it just feel like winter is much shorter but colder than it used to be while summer seems to last forever! Overall, nine out of ten of the hottest years on record have happened after 2005. And this global warming has been having a treacherous effect on our lifestyle too. In 2018, immense heat and droughts triggered bushfires across Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.
While on the other side of the spectrum, places like Queensland, Hobart and south-west Western Australia suffered from excessive rainfall causing extreme storms and flash flooding across various suburbs. These conditions have been affecting the livelihood of many as the effect of these issues has resulted in poor water supplies across the states. Companies such as QUU and SEQWater are constantly battling with floods and burst water mains due to the extreme temperatures causing malfunctions.
The largest wave of the impact has been felt by Australian farmers across the nation. Obviously, neither of these extremes has proven helpful.
As Australians, we either experience these conditions first hand, or know someone who is affected – that’s why we want companies to do better. We want companies who are trying to make a better future, not just make a profit. Thankfully there are some tech companies stepping up and taking the initiative to go as green as possible.
Tech companies that are making a difference
It wasn’t too long ago when Salesforce, a cloud computing company, announced that it has recently pledged to become 100% carbon neutral by 2050. Carbon neutral is achieved when the manufacturing of a product results in zero carbon dioxide emissions. Which in turn means that by 2050, Australia will be rid of the carbon footprints produced as a result of Salesforce manufacturing. Tech companies leave large amounts of carbon footprints and this is a big step towards reducing a large portion emitted by tech companies. They plan on doing this by increasing energy efficiency in offices by switching to renewable energy sources.
Since 2016, Salesforce has signed two wind farm agreements, committing themselves to the development and use of wind farms across West Virginia and Texas. They’ve also decided to leverage their resources to support environmental resources around the world. Their 1-1-1 philanthropic model means that they donate 1% of produce, equity and employee time to achieve this mission. To date they’ve donated over $260 million dollars and $3.8 million hours to organisations. That’s Salesforce for you! A company that is doing everything in their power (pun intended) to keep consumers and the environment happy.
In 2016, ‘Liam’ the robot, was introduced as a part of their green project to become more environmentally sustainable. Liam is capable of disassembling iPhone parts and segregating the different kinds of metals to get it ready for recycling. Then last year, “Daisy” was introduced as the new and improved “Liam”. To show their dedication to recycling e-waste, Apple used Liam’s old parts for the construction of Daisy. Thank goodness these are only real names, not real people!
Daisy is capable of disassembling nine different types of iPhones and can take apart an average of 200 phones an hour. AN HOUR! That’s 4800 phones that can be recycled for parts per day! She is also able to sort the various metals and remove any parts not viable for recycling. To further their sustainability plan, Apple has also launched a “Giveback” program where consumers can bring in their old iPhones and receive either a small remuneration or discount on new iPhones for those looking to swap their old ones out for new ones. Even if your iPhone is beyond any worth, Apple can still take it in for recycling! And yet some still think that the only reason consumers go to Apple is because of its popularity and because it looks fancy pants.
Over the years, Apple has made a substantial effort in purchasing green energy bonds as well as investing in renewable energy. And to say that their investment in this matter and hard work paid off, would be an understatement. Why? Because as of last year, 93% of Apple’s operations worldwide run on renewable energy sources. Imagine how much they have already contributed to sustainability. Not to mention the work Apple’s done has people like us feeling inadequate for not helping the environment enough and now, after reading this, probably guilty too for forgetting to turn your bedroom lights off again!
Everyone knows Amazon to be one of the largest and most popular e-commerce companies that has truly stood the test of time as other e-commerce companies have appeared and disappeared over the years. This could have to do with their active efforts in keeping up with environment sustainability trends working as an ally in meeting economically environmental standards. As of January 2016, the company announced their investment into building their very own wind farms as a source of energy to power the company’s data centres, responsible to emissions released by Amazon. The 150 megawatt (MW) Amazon wind farm, located in Benton County, Indianna, consists of 65 turbines and 67 transformers generating energy to power their companies. The structure is comparable to producing enough energy to power 46,000 homes for an entire year! Mind blowing isn’t it? What one can do to contribute to a better environment and economy.
To top it off, Amazon has announced the development of three new wind farms in Ireland, Sweden as well as an additional one in the US. They have also contributed their funds towards a number of solar farms across Virginia. Their efforts so far has reached a pleasantly surprising percentage of 50% renewable energy usage across the world. And, of course, it’s no secret that they are hoping to make this figure 100%.
Shop with peace of mind
On top of making purchases from these companies, you should also consider buying second hand or refurbished tech to save on wastage. As individuals, it may seem like we are not capable of doing a lot for the environment. However, this could not be further from the truth.
Doing good has a ripple effect and if you have decided to make steps towards sustainability, it is sure to influence your friends and family around you too, slowly forming a chain of hundreds of people doing the same. And even if you don’t get that far, it is still satisfying to know that you are not playing a role in the destruction and pollution of the environment.
It is hard to change the perspective of many on this issue. Many are under the impression that it is already too late for us to care. But, the truth is, the smallest change is appreciated by nature. So make sure you do your role in recycling properly, especially plastic and e-waste as these can do the most serious and direct harm to our beautifully green planet. Being sustainable doesn’t require putting more effort, it does however require staying cautious. Buying a second-hand or refurbished computer saves electronic waste from landfills, helping the environment. Visit TCM to get the latest refurbished products from the top tech companies.