Nigel Penny, Video Collaboration Specialist at Logitech UK & IRL offers some advice on how UK public sector organisations can meet their increasing government set green targets much more efficiently
The public sector is increasingly tasked with ensuring the products it selects meet the strict sustainability guidelines set out by the UK Government, such as in the Sustainability Plan published in 2019.
The goals of this plan include using resources more sustainably and effectively and reducing waste. To do so, it calls for natural and finite materials to be used more innovatively and efficiently, as well as for single-use plastics to be eliminated from offices.
Pursuing these sustainable credentials can force some procurement specialists into a tricky spot, however, where they are forced to make a trade-off against the quality, value and longevity of the products they choose. The public sector, therefore, must look towards a supplier that can offer the solutions they need, while satisfying the new green agenda and meeting sustainability targets. Below are a couple of key factors that procurement specialists should consider from their suppliers when looking to improve their sustainability.
Look for transparency in sustainability credentials
Firstly, public sector organisations should opt for suppliers who have a known and trusted track record with sustainability. The supplier should be able to provide evidence that it has given consideration to how each aspect of a product is sourced and produced with minimal impact – as well as how it can be disposed of or recycled at the end of life.
One thing to look for is a supplier that provides clear, transparent information about the environmental impact of its products, such as the total CO2 emissions of products through their life cycle. For example, Logitech quantifies the carbon footprint of its products across their full life cycle – from sourcing of raw materials, through to manufacturing, distribution, consumer use and product end of life – and is committed to providing carbon impact labels across its product portfolio.
What materials are being used?
Another consideration is looking for suppliers that use sustainable, environmentally friendly materials in the manufacture of products. An increasing trend to look for is products that are made from, or at least incorporate, post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastics. These are plastics derived from an end product, like a single-use water bottle, that would otherwise be disposed of. By using PCR plastics, fewer virgin materials need to be used, and the carbon footprint of a product is subsequently reduced.
At Logitech, PCR is used in a variety of products across the portfolio. These range from the C930E webcam and M575 mouse, and the K400 keyboard and M100 mouse were also recently added to the portfolio. By incorporating these plastics, an estimated 273 tonnes of virgin plastic has been saved, and 524 tonnes of carbon emission eliminated.
As well as the materials used to create products, the materials they are packaged in are also important to consider – and this can be a way to significantly reduce single-use plastics from wrappers, for example. The good news is that many suppliers have now set themselves guidelines for the amount of recyclable or non-plastic materials they use in their packaging, meaning you can take advantage of these sustainability savings. In many cases, they have already set themselves specific targets for reducing the overall quantity and weight of packaging or have plans in motion to move to packaging materials that are less energy-intensive to source.
One example is Logitech’s MX Keys keyboard. With sustainability as the focus, the company has reduced the total weight of the packaging by 51%, reducing its carbon footprint by 69% and increasing recyclability by 62%.
Consider the whole supply chain
Finally, it is important to look at the full supply chain of a supplier, not just their final product. The manufacturing of computer peripherals and electronic devices requires a diverse mix of hundreds of parts, materials and components, and these products are often produced by a supply chain that extends across the world – with sustainability credentials that could vary vastly.
For this reason, procurement teams should look for suppliers that consider the full life cycle footprint of products. They should work with their supply chain to review material specifications, test products and components, and identify potential risks to human health or the environment across the full life cycle of products.
There are specific standards and codes of conduct to look out for which can show a supplier reputability. For example, Logitech has worked with the Smart Freight Centre (SFC) to develop a tool to collect, capture, and report the carbon footprint of our global distribution network – in what is called the Logitech Logistics Carbon Calculator.
You should also check to see if a supplier is a member of a globally recognised and accredited group like the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA). If they are, it will mean they are held accountable to the RBA Code of Conduct and will be using RBA training, assessment and support tools to ensure both its own production facilities and supply chain are meeting certain standards and green targets.
Going green, whilst staying lean
Sustainability and green technologies are notorious for having a premium attached. However, recent advances in manufacturing and supply chain procurement mean that planet-friendly tech need not hit your budgets where it hurts. Public sector organisations can now look to enjoy all the business benefits of high-performance collaboration tools and computer peripherals, whilst feeling satisfied that they are meeting the green targets set for them by the UK government.
Please note: This is a commercial profile
© 2019. This work is licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.