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Carbon-neutral leasing

Sustainable investment: carbon-neutral IT infrastructure with carbonZER0

Thanks to carbonZER0, the ‘green’ financing option from CHG-MERIDIAN, companies can make carbon-neutral IT investments for the first time. Here we explain how straightforward and sustainable this new offering is.

Sustainability (especially within the technology industry) has grown massively in importance in recent years in the B2B world. ESG and sustainability roles now often feature within companies senior leadership teams, C-Suite and board of management teams. Therefore, similar to many organisations, CHG-MERIDIAN has been on their own sustainability journey, which has recently culminated in the launch of its ‘green’ It financing option, carbonZER0. With carbonZER0, organisations can now make their IT investments carbon-neutral. Here, we chat with Simon Young, Sales Director UK & Ireland at CHG-MERIDIAN, to discuss what carbonZER0 entails and what CHG-MERIDIAN are doing as a business to be more sustainable.  

How did you come up with the idea of carbon-neutral leasing for IT equipment?

We look very closely at current, and particularly future, demand in the market. Initiatives such as the Green Deal, the Paris Climate Agreement, and carbon-neutral production, which Apple is aiming to achieve for all its products by 2030, are a clear indication of where we are heading. Many of our customers have already set themselves ambitious sustainability targets, and reducing CO₂ emissions is right at the top of the agenda.

Has this increased the need to act?

In the future, the pressure on everyone to act will continue to grow as more and more companies around the world define strict environmental protection standards, such as those relating to their carbon footprint. And they expect their partners and suppliers to comply with these requirements in a verifiable manner. What’s more, younger generations are demanding that business becomes more sustainable. The onus is on employers to position themselves accordingly to remain competitive in the war for talent.

Carbon-neutral leasing of IT technology is one thing, but what happens when those assets become technically obsolete and need replacing? Does this then undo the work of a sustainable financing programme?

Good question. In some cases yes, that can definitely be the case! However, this is all about mindset. If your business has a mindset of owning, using and disposing of IT equipment, then this can undo some of the good work of carbon-neutral financing. But all this requires is a simple shift in mindset to one of use, reuse and recycle. For many organisations, they don’t have the resource to deal with the sustainable removal of assets from the business so often choose to destroy them. This is where using the assets rather than owning them can be beneficial. This passes the responsibility onto the service provider to dispose of the assets in an environmentally friendly fashion. In CHG-MERIDIAN’s case, we remarket 96% of the assets that come back to us. These assets are refurbished and can be either be sold onto the secondary market or donated to local charities/communities that would otherwise struggle to access technology. The remaining 4% is then recycled according to WEEE directives while we try to save and reuse as many parts/materials as possible.   

Unlike cars, IT equipment does not directly emit CO₂. So where do the damaging emissions come from?

Computers, tablets, and smartphones generate CO₂ and other greenhouse gases throughout their lifecycle. The bulk of these are emitted right at the start during raw material extraction and manufacturing. Transport also has an impact due to the highly complex global supply chains. A smartphone, for example, requires components from an average of 270 suppliers. Around a third of the emissions are generated through the device’s energy consumption and by the infrastructure that transmits its data.

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Carbon-neutral with carbonZER0

Sustainability has become a differentiating factor in the market. Thanks to carbonZER0, the production, transportation, use phase, and end-of-lease phase of your CHG-MERIDIAN leased IT assets can now be carbon-neutral.

What does carbonZER0 offer customers?

It is an end-to-end package. All the customer needs to do is order this service for their devices. We work out the CO₂ equivalents and offset them through sustainable investment in certified climate change mitigation projects. Our customers receive a certificate with which they can prove the exact amount of CO₂ they have offset.

And what does this cost?

The additional costs are very modest. There is no single fixed amount, as offset payments naturally depend on the IT asset category and the amount of emissions generated by the equipment. But in general, you can expect the additional monthly cost per device to be only a few pence.

WHAT are THE CRITERIA for SELECTING CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION PROJECTS?

It is important to us to support measures aimed at mitigating climate change in a variety of ways, from generating electricity through solar energy to protecting the endangered Amazon, as forests are among the most important carbon sinks. All these projects have to be certified in accordance with internationally recognised standards and contribute to sustainable development in their countries in line with the sustainable development goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN).

What is CHG-MERIDIAN doing today to be more sustainable as a business?

Great question, quite a lot actually! Firstly our most ambitious goal is to achieve carbon neutrality by the end of 2021. Considering many other large blue-chip companies net-zero goals are not targeted until 2040 – 2050, this is a goal we are very proud of and currently on track to achieve. Furthermore, we plan to have group-wide sustainability reporting via an external audit and supplier assessments and standards for our own procurement in place by 2023. Finally, since 2021, we have been committed to the UN Global Compact responsibility initiative and its 10 principles in the area of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. And of course, we’ll remain on the lookout for where we can improve in the years to come. I think the key point to remember is that there is no endpoint with sustainability. There are always aspects and processes we can improve upon.

What direction will your commitment to sustainability take next?

Our major advantage is that we don’t have to integrate sustainability into our day-to-day operations, as our business model has always been based on the circular economy's principles. Nevertheless, it is important to see the bigger picture of sustainability, which means operating in a green, socially responsible, and efficient way in the long term. This is where we are focusing our approach: We believe sustainability is a key business enabler, and carbonZER0 is the logical consequence of this.

Thank you for talking to us today.

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