SOTI calls for e-waste attitude change

SOTI global research finds nearly all IT leaders believe device management change is needed to reduce e-waste.

SOTI is calling on global IT leaders and manufacturers to re-evaluate their device management practices to prevent devices from being discarded unnecessarily and contributing to the millions of tonnes of annual global e-waste.

SOTI has revealed nearly 95% (95% globally) of UK IT leaders within international corporations believe a change in device management would reduce the number of devices their organisations discard and replace every year.

According to SOTI’s inaugural sustainability report, Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: From Discard Mentality to Tech Sustainability, 38% (35% globally) of IT leaders replace devices regardless of whether they still work or not, 43% (43% globally) replace devices when a newer or more advanced model becomes available, 36% (40% globally) replace devices when warranties run out and 41% (43% globally) upgrade electronics at the users’ request.

These behaviours are leading to devices becoming unnecessarily obsolete, but better software and hardware management from IT leaders and manufacturers can increase device lifespan. As the global chip shortage continues, better device management is needed more than ever to preserve devices and mitigate a diminished supply of electronics.

E-waste is a major contributing factor to global waste. A BBC study estimated the world’s mountain of discarded electronics, in 2021 alone, weighed 57 million tonnes – more than the Great Wall of China. The study also predicted the global share of e-waste that is documented, collected and recycled is just 20%. Unfortunately, many organisations are ignoring the scale of their contributions to global e-waste because of the growing pressure to continuously innovate using new technology.

A Battle of Mentalities

Although 55% (60% globally) of IT leaders agree device management is an important environmental issue for their organisation, they are under immense pressure to come out on top in terms of digital transformation. Consequently, innovation is outweighing the desire to ensure devices are not discarded prematurely. Additionally, 59% (62% globally) of IT decision-makers believe having the latest hardware makes their company a more attractive place to work.

Currently, 42% (44% globally) of devices contain replaceable batteries, yet only 29% (33% globally) of annual budgets are spent replacing them. When a battery dies in a car, the battery is replaced, not the car. The same mindset must be applied to corporate devices by strengthening budgets to replace batteries, allowing for complete electronic lifecycles. This helps businesses fulfil sustainability agendas and increase digital proficiency over the long-term.

Elongating Lifespan

Behaviours such as throwing away devices prematurely and failing to provide software support throughout a device’s life, need to change if companies want hardware to survive longer.

Indeed, 51% (69% globally) of IT Leaders agree regular software updates are extremely important in supporting and expanding device lifespan.

“The decision-makers in charge of devices and the digital solutions being deployed are the biggest offenders of replacing devices that do not need to be replaced. IT leaders must work with manufacturers to implement software updates that fix bugs and security vulnerabilities, provide new features to improve performance and usability, and reduce excessive, unnecessary e-waste. These attitudes and behaviours are leading to the unnecessary disposal of too many devices,” said Stefan Spendrup, VP of Sales, Northern and Western Europe at SOTI.

“Introducing new and shiny technology is not maintainable and is not the only way to stay on track with digital transformation. As technology advances at an extortionate rate, so do the practices of preserving it. Diagnosis and repair are a far more cost-effective way to elongate device lifespan and ensure sustainable device management. Through Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) strategies and software such as SOTI XSight, organizations can maintain, diagnose and repair existing devices and reduce their contribution to e-waste,” said Spendrup.

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