Think about it. Just take a moment and count. Count how many mobile devices you use in your work and at home. Maybe it looks something like this: at home, you have two laptops, an iPad, two current iPhones, four older iPhones in a drawer, two current apple watches, two old ones, a Garmin, a wireless printer, two desktop computers and five Alexas. At work, you have a desktop computer, a laptop, a presentation tablet, two Bluetooth speakers, two wireless headsets, a wireless printer and a Fitbit for lunchtime walks. That, my friends, is a total of 32 devices. And that’s just your office and your house.
While “going green” has been top of mind for most businesses for decades, the heaping number of wireless devices under a company’s purview has presented a new challenge to corporate environmentalism and social responsibility. According to Statista Researcher Arne von See, the most significant carbon footprint in the tech industry comes from end-user devices (as compared even to data centers’ energy usage). Furthermore, the increasing amounts of e-waste are staggering, and less than one-fifth of e-waste is collected and recycled worldwide.
So, where do you even start to ensure your enterprise mobility practices are socially and environmentally responsible? Here’s a punch list that will get you started down a greener path.
Investigate Your Supply Chain Standards
Start by investigating each piece of your supply chain to ensure your enterprise mobility presence is as eco-friendly as possible. As a matter of practice, review each partner's environmental and sustainability policies to make sure they are at a level deemed acceptable by your leadership. Look for eco-friendly manufacturing practices, sustainable energy usage, limited resource consumption and minimum carbon footprint.
Consider Your Source Materials
The manufacturers you work with should be able to readily describe the source and nature of all materials used to build your devices. The Ethical Consumer Research Association suggests procuring products with minimal levels of toxic materials like Phthalates and PVC and ensuring the source materials are conflict-free, meaning they are not mined in areas plagued with armed conflict. And, of course, manufacturers who effectively use recycled materials get extra points.
Make a Move Toward Modularity
The Ethical Consumer Research Association also suggests purchasing modular devices that are easily disassembled and reassembled for repair. This dramatically extends the life of the device, minimizing device turnover in your organization and keeping that growing e-waste amount at bay.
Size Up the Shipping
Ask your partners to describe the efficiencies in their forward and reverse logistics. What you hope to find are tightly refined – preferably automated – processes that move devices around in the most timely and inexpensive manner. Opt for suppliers with greener packaging materials and robust recycling programs to make you feel better about that excess material as well.
Harness the Power
Devices that use power-efficient batteries that require fewer regular charging sessions are always better than their oft-drained counterparts. And encourage users to only upgrade to the level of boost they actually need for work – for example, 5G might be all the rage, but if 4G will do, opt for that device instead. It’s less of an energy draw.
Focus on Policy
The lowest-hanging fruit for eco-friendly mobility management is right under your own roof. Carefully craft and enforce your enterprise mobility policies to control your environmental impact. Have people hold onto devices longer if they aren’t broken. Develop a simple process for turning devices back in. Provide incentives for recycling. All of these practices not only improve efficiencies and uphold environmental standards, but they also protect the security of your data! There’s a lot of valuable information on these devices!
Automate End of Life
According to research from vMOX partner Mobile reCell, less than 30 percent of corporate-owned devices are recovered using spreadsheets and other manual processes. The key is to have an automated, software-based program to recover, repurpose and recycle (often for buyback or rebate). Rely on recycling programs or look into cold storage for future use – whatever it takes to keep all of these devices out of the trash or some random drawer.
Need Some Help?
Enlist an enterprise mobility partner. Working with a managed mobility services vendor like vMOX takes many of these hurdles away. For example, vMOX and its partners support greener standards on all fronts, and their environmental and sustainability practices are regularly audited by a third party. So, you can check that box.
But, most importantly, a managed mobility services (MMS) vendor can streamline and automate highly secure processes for recovering, repurposing, reselling and recycling corporate-owned smartphones and tablets. The vendor can manage (and limit, for the purposes of being greener) the catalog of devices available to employees; ensure that all related policies and processes are followed; and facilitate getting devices into and out of users’ hands in the most efficient way possible.
Want to learn more about optimizing the efficiencies and sustainability of your enterprise mobility program? Connect with a vMOX expert today. You can prioritize the planet AND streamline the management of your wireless assets all at once!