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23rd June 2022

How Can We Accurately Measure The Green Credentials Of Computer Hardware?

Carissa Parnell

One of the reasons that we launched our specialist Device as a Service leasing solution, Devices For Greener Teams, was to help UK businesses with reaching net zero.

We endeavour to aid businesses in this goal for several reasons:

  • Reducing greenhouse gasses is a hugely important moral and practical obligation for the world as climate change consequences grow.
  • Making pragmatic changes to reach net zero can be challenging and expensive for businesses, and we want to make that burden easier.
  • We care about net zero and green computing because we want to reduce the significant environmental impact of computer hardware.
  • The UK government may soon be introducing stricter legislation regarding businesses and net zero. This would be following their announcement that the UK’s target for net zero is now 2050.recycle logo with devices inside

Part of Devices For Greener Teams system for helping businesses with net zero and green computing is providing hardware with the greenest credentials.

However, there are two important questions to take into consideration for our clients:

  1. Should businesses be concerned about net zero and green computing?
  2. How easy is it to accurately measure the green credentials of a device?

Will Businesses Be Compelled To Adhere To Net Zero?

In answer to the first question, businesses should take net zero and green computing very seriously. Fines have already been applied to approximately 30 companies by the Environment Agency for breaches of climate change schemes like the net zero target.

Many of the fines were for failing to report emissions but some are for failing to be proactive and identify greener ways to do business.

So far, many of the fines have been applied to the power plants and energy companies, but the type of industries receiving fines is growing more varied, such as automotive businesses and brewing businesses.

With fines and legislation already commencing, it will become expensive and difficult to conduct business without making changes to reach net zero.

In November 2021, Rishi Sunak made firm remarks that ALL listed businesses in Britain must produce strategies to reduce their carbon emissions or face fines.

How Accurately Can We Measure The Green Credentials Of a Device?

Net zero and green computing are crucial to the future of IT hardware. Computing produces a lot of emissions and e-waste, especially when the production process and logistics of devices are taken into account.

A laptop can produce anywhere from 200 – 500kg of carbon emissions on average from its manufacture, dispatch and first five years of use. That’s quite an impact, without even considering the full life cycle of the device. Not only this, but the sheer range of the environmental impact is large.

200kg is obviously a lot better than 500kg, and it just goes to show that some manufacturers and models are a much greener choice.

But how can a business be confident they are receiving the greenest devices?

The problem arises from many different bodies offering their services to measure other businesses’ emissions. Without a singular recognised body named by the government, it’s a bit of a wild west when it comes to emissions measuring bodies.

These different bodies also use a range of different criteria to inform how they rank a device in terms of its environmental impact.

Some consider only emissions, others look at economic and social impact as well, while others look at a range of environmental impacts.

Why Can Devices For Greener Teams Provide Accurate, Trustworthy Results?

Devices For Greener Teams wanted to ensure we were helping our clients make practical, measurable steps towards net zero. In order to recommend the greenest devices that would help reduce emissions, e-waste, and other environmental issues, we required a highly accurate system for accessing green credentials.

The company behind the Devices For Greener Teams, Hardsoft, has decades of experience working with manufacturers like Apple, Microsoft, Lenovo, Dell, HP etc.

This makes it easy for Devices For Greener Teams to access their data on emissions for different models.

However, a surface assessment was not thorough enough for us, and we wanted to dig deeper. So, Devices For Greener Teams turned to ecolabels, emissions measuring experts, and green certification bodies for IT technology.devices for greener teams

Reputable third-party organisations are a great way to get an outside, unbiased evaluation of a device’s green credentials and emissions. However, there was still the issue that every ecolabel and green certification process for IT uses shifting criteria and no official body has been named by the government for measuring IT hardware.

To solve this problem, Devices For Greener Teams went on a journey to collate the best data possible on green credentials for IT hardware, to enable our clients to achieve net zero and green computing.

Instead of looking at just one well-respected ecolabel, we cross-referenced the data of three of the most trusted third-party emissions measuring bodies.

Devices For Greener Teams, therefore, assesses and recommends devices, not based on one ecolabel, but at least three.

EPEAT – Looks primarily at emissions but also a range of green credentials and awards a tiered system

TCO – Some of the most multi-layered criteria looking at environmental factors, including emissions as well as social health and safety criteria and economic criteria.

Energy Star – Particularly favoured in the USA and by Apple. A central focus on energy usage.

Our Apple products utilise both Energy Star and their own ecolabel and are some of the greenest devices on the market in terms of efficiency and energy consumption.

Devices For Greener Teams measure our devices using the above ecolabels to recommend the greenest hardware, making our evaluations into green performance by IT products some of the most rigorous.Eco labels

Devices For Greener Teams:

  • Recommends the greenest hardware.
  • Let’s you upgrade to greener devices as they become available.
  • Helps you to repair and repurpose hardware.
  • Recycle it responsibly at its end of lifecycle.
  • Enables you to offset carbon emissions affordably.
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