The impact of your smartphone

As pointed out by this recent article (see link), our smartphones, tablets and computers require more and more mining of rare materials and this comes with a toll on the planet, and, in most cases, on many people as well.

The newer, the cooler. Or is it?

The excitement of owning a brand new device is, of course, thrilling and it can seem important to always appear at the top of the technological progress in a business environment. But is it really?

By always displaying a new phone or tablet, you may also be sending the message that you are futile, do not care about your impact and that your expenses are not based on rational decisions and that you are very easy to influence with marketing and other methods.

Good practices

There are few things a company can do to diminish the impact of its IT purchases

  • Buy less often. Decide together with your staff how often devices really need to be renewed, not according to fashion but the actual needs of your organisation. Three years should be a minimum for a smartphone.
  • Buy better. There are not so many options on the market and few brands are willing to disclose the impact of their products. One exception is Fairphone, a phone designed to be ethical and modular.
  • Repair. It can be smart to give incentives to the staff to get their damaged equipment repaired instead of buying a new one.
  • Recycle/Re-use. Your organisation may have higher needs than other people out there. There are many ways to give a second life to your IT equipment by donating it to dedicated NGOs.

Engage

None of the above is doable without strong commitment of all the staff. For this, you need to set-up a corporate culture where sustainability is always part of the discussion. Easier said than done but Job Footprint can help you with that.