More and more vendors are taking a ‘circular economy’ approach to their solutions, improving sustainability and reducing carbon emissions. And with economic benefits too. It not only gives partners greater competitiveness, additional revenue opportunities and stronger margins, but also reduces the risk from grey equipment from the secondary market.

From David Attenborough’s intervention at Glastonbury to Greta Thunberg’s impassioned speech at the United Nations, it’s evident that addressing environmental issues has a whole new sense of urgency.

The message is hitting home. We need to take better care of our planet and, from an IT perspective, one primary culprit that we can address is e-waste.

According to the World Economic Forum, we produced 48.5 million tonnes of electronic waste globally in 2018. Of that total, just 20% was dealt with appropriately, being recycled or reused; the remaining 80% ended up either being disposed of, or in landfill.

Perhaps surprisingly, many people believe that on-going day-to-day usage and charging comprise the most significant contributor of CO2 emissions for IT devices. However, in truth there are considerably more emissions created in their manufacture, which have a bigger impact on the environment.

The circular economy offers a potential alternative when it comes to decreasing this impact. A circular economy model promotes the re-use of products, eliminating the need to manufacture brand new devices from scratch and of course, fewer devices are sent to landfill. Right now, too few devices go through this ‘circular’ process.

This approach – as opposed to a linear economy founded on the workflow of ‘produce’, ‘use’ and ‘dispose’ – aims to minimise waste and make the most of physical resources. In a circular economy, used devices are refreshed or remanufactured, and put back into the system to be used again.

Good for the planet and for margins

Research suggests that by 2030, the circular economy could generate $4.5 trillion of additional economic output. Included in this is a significant revenue opportunity for technology resellers who can offer remanufactured products for a second lifecycle as part of their portfolio.

In a circular economy, as exemplified by Cisco Refresh, when a device reaches end of life, it is returned to the original manufacturer, who can use the materials to remanufacture the product and make it available again to the marketplace.

Resellers can then offer ‘good as new’ product at reduced cost to the end user, but with increased margin for them, as the price of remanufactured product delivers higher levels of profit.

Goodbye to grey

To be sold as ‘remanufactured’, a product must meet stringent quality criteria, and can only be carried out by the original manufacturer. Upon purchase, end users receive products with an as new ‘out of the box’ experience – original packaging, warranty, updated software –  but at a lower price.

Naturally this benefits the end customer in terms of cost, but lower pricing also makes it harder for ‘grey’ product (of indeterminate origin, or even fake) to compete. Consider, why spend a similar amount of money on grey, which brings the added risk of lower quality product without guarantees or warranties?

Cisco’s Refresh programme is harnessing all the benefits of a circular economy with its systematic approach to delivering remanufactured, ‘as new’ products back into the market. 

Our role in the channel is to ensure that we position the attributes of remanufactured products and make it ever easier for resellers to bring them to more and more end customers. Here at Westcon-Comstor, we’re committed to growing the volume of product through Circular Technology Solutions. It offers benefits to a company’s bottom line while also contributing reducing IT’s e-waste and carbon footprint. We think it’s good for partners, good for end-customers, good for the planet.

To learn more about Westcon-Comstor’s Circular Technology Solutions, click here.