Sustainable IT Summit: findings

Photo of people sitting and looking at speaker, with the logo "The future of socially sustainable and responsible IT'
13 May 2024
News type
United Kingdom

The Sustainable IT Summit took place on 23 April in the United Arab Emirates, organised by Circular Computing which, unsurprisingly, is endeavouring to promote circularity in the IT sector. The summit was attended by IT industry leaders who discussed sustainability challenges in this sector and the opportunities offered by circular processes such as remanufacturing. After all, the IT sector is renowned for churning out new items which make "old" items redundant really rather quickly… For instance, Microsoft will be ceasing support for Windows 10 for its laptops in October 2025: Canalys, a leading global technology market analyst firm that spoke at the summit, estimates that 240 million PCs could become e-waste as a result.

The summit found that IT leaders are fully expecting the sector to shift to remanufacturing and acceptance of reused devices: they disagreed on when, not if. 40% believe that 20% of corporate laptops bought will be pre-used by 2028; most of the rest feel that 2032 is more likely.

IT software company Nexthink feels that 76% of the world’s top computer models can be remanufactured. Circular Computing's Circular Remanufacturing Process in fact brings pre-used laptops up to ‘equal to or better than new’ standards. As well as helping with the scarcity of critical raw materials, remanufacturing is good for the environment (remanufacturing a laptop produces 6.34% of the CO2 emissions generated by making one from scratch) and it's cheaper: up to 40% cheaper! Add in not filling up landfills and this is clearly the way to go.

Most of the people present at the summit felt that private and public sector users of laptops will be the key drivers of this shift and, on a less positive note, that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) will be the main barrier to rolling it out as quickly as possible. 

Rod Neale, Founder and CEO of Circular Computing, said that "Overall, the consensus is clear: pre-used tech will be the future for enterprises." He hopes that industry will see remanufacturing as the new new – and a way to achieve circularity in the IT sector.