Upgrading IT infrastructure services alongside UN Sustainability Development Goals

Upgrading IT infrastructure services alongside UN Sustainability Development Goals

Sustainability is no longer a corporate luxury or a PR angle. It is an economic and environmental necessity. Not just because consumers will make more choices based on sustainability, but unsustainable models will naturally reach the end of their runway.

As resources become scarcer, regulations will start to prevent unsustainable practices, and materials will grow too expensive to be discarded. More companies and consumers will demand the right to repair, taking measures to extend the life of their products and services instead of contributing to the cycle of ‘scrap and replace’. IT infrastructure services are not immune to these concerns.

Yet, innovation is also a necessity. Technology, industry, and development will all be required to find solutions to crises and discover new ways to increase global equality in the future.

To align these disparate concepts, the UN is leading a call to arms for increased sustainability in development by setting a series of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals aim to foster innovation and creation while developing sustainable practices that will help ensure their longevity.
As a company committed to providing sustainability in IT infrastructure services, Ynvolve is aligning with a series of specific goals to help us, and our clients, pursue technological innovation in an increasingly sustainable way.

What are the Sustainability Development Goals?

The UN’s SDGs are a series of 17 inter-connected, targeted achievements. They aim to eradicate global issues such as poverty and other inequalities through broader strategies to improve health, education, and spur economic growth in localized ways.

Despite the scope and scale of each goal, the project is based on a philosophy of inclusivity and personal accountability. Individual actions can add up to a global impact — and private entities also share this responsibility.

So, rather than curbing innovation or development, the SDGs aim to fuel growth and technological progress to contribute to lasting solutions for economic and environmental challenges.
2020 marked the start of the “Decade of Action”, a time to deliver on these goals to prevent irreversible damage and ‘leave no-one’ behind.

Many corporations, such as Nike, and JetBlue, are aligning themselves with one or more specific SDGs that reflect their area of influence. They then create or partner with other programs to support sustainability and help track and monitor their progress against these goals.

How can Ynvolve’s IT infrastructure services contribute to these SDGs?

To contribute to these goals, Ynvolve is aligning its practices with two specific sustainable development goals and promoting practices that help our clients align with these same goals.

Let us look at the goals in more detail:

  • SDG 9: Industry, innovation, and infrastructure – This aims to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation.
  • SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production – This goal plans to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

Industry and innovation can be seen as contributing factors to unsustainability. But innovation and technological progress are key to finding lasting solutions to both economic and environmental challenges. Increased resource and energy efficiency and solutions to issues like climate change will likely stem from technological innovations.

But for this to happen, we need to establish patterns and practices that allow for innovation in a sustainable and ethical manner.

At Ynvolve, we use the depth of our collective technical knowledge to promote lifecycle extension and re-use over replace, safely and accurately recycle hardware, isolate valuable components, and return resources back into the ecosystem.

As we are technology and brand agnostic, we only ever recommend solutions that meet business needs, not product-defined end-of-service–life criteria. We promote ‘refurbished’ IT infrastructure solutions that will achieve business results, rather than tying companies to a cycle of upgrades to the latest generation of technology.

Through recycling, reusing hardware, we prevent the unnecessary use of virgin resources and the destructive processes that are used to obtain them. This enables companies to continue to innovate without the need for higher costs or increased e-waste.

In 2020, The UN Environment Program (UNEP), discovered that a record 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste were generated in 2020. In addition, the raw materials within this waste amounted to $57 billion in value. Furthermore, only 17.4% of e-waste was collected and recycled in 2019.

In addition to reusing components and preventing un-needed hardware churn, we also help companies recycle the equipment that has reached its true end of life. We pick equipment up and re-use what has a residual value and facilitate the recycling process, all according to European WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) regulations. As of today, we have put 256 tons of IT equipment up for recycling.

In cases when equipment is still functional but no longer suitable for one business use case, Ynvolve offers Buy Back as a Service (BBaaS®). This enables companies to reclaim value from equipment that would otherwise be obsolete and could end up as e-waste.

This BBaaS® offering includes equipment from all major OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and any required professional services such as certified data erasure and recycling, consolidation, decommissioning, and packaging covering more than 110 countries.

This means equipment is given a second life. When a business use case exceeds the capacity or capability of equipment, the equipment is not obsolete. Rather than being disposed of, it can continue to be used by businesses with different requirements. Full-service refurbishment means this equipment can be guaranteed to meet safety, security, and performance requirements during its second life.

Through this program, companies maximize their ROI on IT spend and reduce their carbon impact when the need to scale up arises. The lifecycle of equipment is extended, and companies can meet their IT needs at a lower cost, prevent e-waste, and prevent the need to use up additional natural resources and raw materials.

The Let’s Bloom Incubator program

One of the principles behind the UN SDGs is that individual actions, in line with the goals, will start to set precedents of behavior that begin to influence the actions of others.

As a member of the Infinite Group, Ynvolve is one of five IT specialist companies that work together to transfer knowledge and harness their individual strengths and expertise.

As part of this initiative, the Infinite Group also runs the Let’s Bloom incubator program. This program seeks to provide ‘high potential xSPs with technological and financial solutions throughout their growth trajectory’.

Reducing the cost, waste and new product consumption, while increasing the performance, value, and lifespan of IT infrastructure services for these new companies will contribute directly to these SDGs while helping companies develop and innovate in a sustainable way.

A social, local responsibility

As a business, we are not just the product we create. We can also contribute locally and individually to social issues. Therefore, we are also actively pursuing internal actions to promote Good health and well-being, Gender Equality, and Reduced Inequality, in line with the SDGs related to these causes.

One such way has been to look internally at our own imbalances. STEM fields of education and employment have traditionally been dominated by men. To help address this imbalance we are committing to proactive hiring practices that ensure equality of opportunity for everyone.

So far, female employees make up 38% of the total team with women making up 45% of managers. Additionally, our workforce in the Nijmegen HQ is composed of 25 nationalities. Diversity is something we embrace, seek and thrive in. We consider it one of the key factors to our success.

We are also establishing a company culture that celebrates and promotes an active and healthy lifestyle. With standing desks, stability balls, and multiple workspaces including a game room to help our team reenergize, we promote a flexible working environment that disrupts normal sedentary office patterns. A healthy lifestyle is further encouraged with a fully stocked in-house gym.

Finally, we help every employee find their own ideal work/life balance. With a deeply international team, the company allows team members to work from their native home for extended periods of time on a case-to-case basis. Our international employees have the flexibility to visit their families across the world as they work with us.

Sustainability is an economic imperative

Finally, while we are pursuing sustainability for the benefit of the environment and those affected by unsustainable practices, increasing sustainability is also crucial to the continuation of Ynvolve as a company.

Consumers are now more informed on sustainability than ever. There is a growing drive to only support brands that are making a positive difference in the world. Demonstrable sustainability is now a key value that informs consumer choices.

In a collaborative organization, the World Bank, BNP Paribas, and Swiss private bank, SYZ currently offer an equity bond that links investment returns to the performance of companies that are directly in line with the UN SDGs.

Arunma Oteh, World Bank Vice President and Treasurer said: “Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals requires a fundamental shift in development finance – the active participation of private investors is key to this change’’.

Furthermore, 82% of PRI signatories reported that sustainability factors directly affected their buy/sell decisions. 60% of Ynvolve job candidates mention our sustainable practices as a key motivation when interviewing with us. Sustainability is a key vector upon which people decide how – and with whom – they do business.

By aligning with the Sustainable Development Goals, our actions as a company, and as a community, will contribute to the fundamental shift required for ongoing sustainability in the technology and innovation sector.