Enterprises across the world are disposing of electronic devices, including rugged devices such as handhelds, scanners and barcode readers, prematurely despite placing bigger emphasis on reaching sustainability goals, global research from SOTI has discovered.
Nearly 7 in 10 (69%) of IT leaders of international corporations believe devices are being disposed of unnecessarily, with laptops and tablets the most common prematurely disposed of electronics. This is despite 59% of IT leaders having clear targets for reducing e-waste, and 55% working towards corporate social responsibility (CSR) key performance indicators (KPIs) around sustainable device management. Additionally, 54% have dedicated Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) strategies to maximize their usage of devices, but clearly are failing to reap the full benefits of EMM solutions in extending their mobile device lifespans.
These findings have been detailed in SOTI’s inaugural sustainability report, Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: From Discard Mentality to Tech Sustainability. The report also highlights that more than half of IT leaders (52%) believe tablets and laptops are unnecessarily replaced according to their ‘expected lifespan’, while 44% believe mobile phones and printers are also replaced for the same reason.
Despite having sustainability targets in place, and 60% of IT leaders agreeing that device management is an important environmental issue, 62% believe that having the latest mobile technology hardware at their disposal makes their organization more attractive for workers. These results uncover an acute need of enterprises to identify viable models of operation that would enable them to marry up these seemingly contrasting aspirations.
Contributing Factors to E-Waste
Worryingly, there are many factors contributing to the unnecessary disposal of devices.
Of the IT leaders surveyed, 39% agree they replace mobile phones when a newer model comes out, while 45% replace tablets and laptops for the same reason and 25% replace printers. And if requested to do so by users, 38% will replace mobile phones, 44% will replace tablets and laptops and 27% will replace printers too.
Further exasperating the negative sustainable impact of e-waste, 32% of IT leaders globally replace mobile phones when the warranty expires, 36% replace laptops and tablets and 29% dispose of printers for the same reason.
In addition, 39% of IT leaders say their organization replaces mobile phones whether they are working or not, while 42% do so with tablets and laptops and 28% also replace printers whether they are functional or otherwise, too.
The Financial Implications
Not only are sustainability targets being impacted, but enterprises are also wasting money by disposing of electronic devices prematurely.
While the financial resources for the replacement of devices are considerable, very little of companies’ budgets are dedicated to extending the lifespan of devices. For example, organizations commonly tend to relate the end of a battery’s life to the life of the device itself, when in many cases with rugged devices such as handhelds, scanners and barcode readers, batteries are changeable, and the hardware can live on. Almost half (44%) of devices used by enterprises have replaceable batteries, yet only 33% of IT leaders’ annual budget is earmarked for battery replacement.
Stefan Spendrup, VP of Sales in Northern and Western Europe at SOTI, said: “Devices aren’t thrown away accidentally. There is always a decision made, and it shouldn’t be as simple as seeing a newer version on the market, seeing the battery die or just ‘expecting’ it to need replacing soon.”
“There are more cost-effective, sustainable ways to monitor a device’s lifespan and to subsequently elongate it. This is even more critical in an era of IoT, where organizations feel even more compelled to stay at the very forefront of new hardware launches or upgrades. Carrying on the attitude of negligent device replacement is only going to continue to impact the world’s sustainability efforts and potential. Diagnosis and repair is a far more effective way to ensure proper device management.”