New research: Home working trend could lead to increase in e-waste

New research released by technology lifecycle management provider 3stepIT has revealed that the global pandemic has rapidly accelerated the digital transformation of businesses across Europe.
Carmen Ene, 3stepIT

As remote working took hold on a phenomenal scale this year, 84% of European businesses purchased additional hardware to maintain operations, with nearly half of IT strategies now including home working and social distancing as key objectives.

With 60% of businesses now planning to allow employees to continue to work from home, 3stepIT’s research hints at a devastating impact for the planet, with millions of desktops set to become obsolete. The research shows almost a quarter (23%) of desktop PCs are not expected to be needed over the coming year.
53.6Mt of e-waste is generated every year (the equivalent of throwing away 1000 laptops per second) and despite growing consumer pressure on businesses to operate sustainably, there is still widespread uncertainty among businesses about how to consume technology responsibly.

Of the businesses surveyed, 36% admitted they did not know where their e-waste ended up. One in 10 IT decision-makers confessed to dumping old technology in landfill, suggesting the devices abandoned during the pandemic could add to growing levels of harmful business e-waste.

CEO, 3stepIT, Carmen Ene, said: “For many businesses, the IT department has been the unsung hero of the pandemic, shouldering the burden of business resilience, continuity and even employee wellbeing. Most are still facing an uphill battle to modernise quickly, while juggling the demands of budget restrictions and growing pressure to operate sustainably.

“With global e-waste volumes rising, and potentially accelerated by the impact of the pandemic, businesses must adopt a greener, circular way of consuming technology.

“Forward-thinking companies have seized this opportunity to transition to greener IT practices, having understood the tangible business value it delivers – improved efficiency, profitability, security and, crucially, resilience. Sustainable IT isn’t just better for the planet, it’s better for business too.”

The new research is explored in ‘The State of Business IT 2020’ report, which quizzed over 1000 IT decision makers across the UK, Europe and Nordic countries.

Highlights include:

  • 84% of companies purchased additional hardware to enable employees to work at home during Covid-19.
  • 60% of businesses plan to allow employees to continue remote working.
  • 23% of desktop PCs are not expected to be required over the coming year.
  • 31% of IT decision makers see sustainability as central to their IT strategies and 65% have e-waste targets in place.
  • Despite this:
    • 36% don’t know where their electronic waste ends up.
    • 25% admit that old or broken IT assets are locked in storage.
    • 10% confess to dumping old IT assets in landfill.
  • Over half (56%) of IT decision makers request that governments put mandatory reporting or targets in place to force businesses to sustainably dispose of IT assets.

Download the report


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