A few stories and comments from around the Internet on the impact of technology on the environment, and what some companies are doing about it.
January 28 2013
by Richard Romano
A few stories
and comments from around the Internet on the impact of technology on
the environment, and what some companies are doing about it.
Over at GreenBiz,
a good interview with Darren Beck, Manager of Corporate Responsibility
at Sprint. Sprint has been one of the leading telecom companiesif not the
leading telecom companyin addressing the sustainability issues unique
to that industry. Sprints corporate sustainability initiative addresses
thing like carbon reduction, handset buy-backs, green devices,
recycling and re-use, and effective metrics for measuring all these
With 135 million cell phones thrown away each year,
theres a lot of work to do. Sprint has set a precedent by being the
first telecom company to set the ambitious long-term goal of recovering 9
mobile devices for every 10 that they sell by 2017. In 2012 their
recycling rate was 45 percent so they are half way there.
Something that certainly helps is Sprints buy back program that
offers up to $300 of instant credit for any eligible device at their
over 3,500 retail stores. Sprint is the first major US carrier to do so.
Of particular interest is the companys pursuit of sustainability
standards for mobile devices. Not that we need a slew of new eco-labels,
but Sprint has been working with UL Environment in that area.
One of the driving factors behind all of Sprints endeavors is the
top-down approach to sustainability. Anyway, its a good lesson in
corporate sustainability initiatives. Read and listen here.
Over at Environmental Leader, a post about Apples recent Supplier Responsibility Progress Report
which found, among other things, that Nearly half of the 55 Apple
suppliers that underwent a focused environmental audit last year
violated the companys standards and were cited in the Institute of
Public and Environmental Affairs pollution database.
To its credit:
Apple also has made a commitment to only use
conflict-free minerals. The tech company has mapped its supply chain for
conflict minerals and actively surveys suppliers to confirm their
smelter sources. As of December 2012, Apple had identified 211 smelters
and refiners from which its suppliers source tin, tantalum, tungsten or
Meanwhile, over at the Sustainable Business Forum, Kirstie Hendrich discusses
the implication of an infographic that shows the impact of technology
(i.e., smartphones, the Internet, etc.) on the environment. At the risk
of sounding like a broken MP3 file (or broken record, or whatever
technology you use to listen to music), in a post-#Paperless2013 world,
we do need to seriously consider the impact of our love of technology on
the planet. This is not a new discussion, just as technology is
nothing new (print was a new technology once upon a time, after all),
but its one that we need to keep having.