Earth Day 2022: A Chance to Pause and Reflect

We welcome Earth Day 2022. It’s been 52 years since the first Earth Day celebration, which helped kick off the environmental movement in the spring of 1970. Man had just landed on the moon the previous year, a trip that yielded an indelible image from space of a fragile planet rich with vibrant colors.

This year’s theme for the global event is “invest in our planet.” We think that’s a particularly appropriate message, since Onepak has been on a years-long journey to invest in more sustainable practices for the reverse logistics of IT assets.

Onepak got its name from providing custom-fitted shipping packages for IT equipment returns. But we’ve never stopped innovating, always trying to make our products and services more environmentally friendly and thus becoming a better partner in the emerging circular economy.

Onepak has spent the last year embarked on an internal R&D project designed to provide our clients with what may just be the first carbon-neutral reusable shipping kits on the market. We look forward to soon sharing the news of our prototype, which will be piloted with a handful of clients. In addition to substantial reductions in emissions, we expect some level of cost savings as well.

We’re initially focusing on laptop kits, because laptops comprise at least half of all IT asset returns. Next, we expect to turn our attention to reusable shipping kits for mobile phone return programs. The win-win is that we are steadily moving away from the use of cardboard and purchasing carbon offsets for production of the recycled paper-based material we do use.

These breakthroughs couldn’t come at a better time. Last year, global sales of laptop computers were at record highs, dwarfing the numbers recorded before the pandemic. This volume—more than a quarter billion units sold worldwide—is expected to continue over the next several years. Given the rise of remote work, many of these units will eventually be returned one at a time.

At the same time, the explosion of e-commerce is causing both supply shortages and price spikes for cardboard. Happily, we’re reducing our cardboard and recycling needs and focusing more on re-use.

The whole point of these innovations in return logistics is to make the ownership and deployment of IT assets more efficient and cost-effective, and to ensure that used equipment doesn’t linger in a closet or drawer at the end of its useful life, or even worse, get tossed into a landfill.

Our fragile planet deserves better.

Demystifying Sustainability and ESG

ESG | Sustainability | Corporate Social Responsibility | Circular Economy | Going Green

Welcome to the language of today’s supply chain. What do these terms mean for members of the industry? And how can IT asset managers make the most of these emerging trends? We will look at the escalating role that sustainability and ESG plays in the IT asset hardware space and the benefits organizations can gain from adopting them.

Setting the Context

The reverse logistics industry will be affected by two major trends over the next decade: a shift by organizations to focus their goals and priorities on ESG (environment, social and governance) and the global transition among manufacturers toward a circular economy. Let’s start with some definitions of these terms.

The term ESG is the latest buzzword in the evolution of corporate social responsibility. Investment firms are shifting billions of dollars of investor funds away from fossil fuels and towards companies that practice sustainability. They are looking for ways to invest in companies that:

  • Measure and minimize their impact on the environment (E)
  • Operate under strong codes of social ethics around gender equality, diversity and inclusion in their workforce and communities (S)
  • Have strong policies in place around fair and equal pay, employee rights, executive compensation, and environmentally sustainable business practices (G).

Organizations large and small will be coming under increased pressure from their stockholders and customers to demonstrate their commitment to ESG principles. That means they will be looking at internal policy shifts as well as external partners that can help them achieve their ESG goals. Many are developing standards or scorecards for their supply chain partners that require them to document their progress toward these values.

The term “circular economy” refers to the shift away from the traditional linear “take, make, waste” approach of mining virgin materials, manufacturing products for a single use and disposing of them. In a circular economy, goods are produced in a way that enables reuse and recycling of materials that will be fed back into the supply chain. For example, many IT returns are shipped using disposable cardboard. A circular model would enable a reusable package and return of that packaging to the shipper for multiple uses. Manufacturers are now being measured and rated on their “circularity.”

In these larger contexts, “going green” takes on a new meaning. It can refer to corporate initiatives to switch to renewable energy, it can include looking at the ratio of independent contractors to employees, or it can implement policies to address gender equality or racial diversity. Sustainability is not just about lowering one’s carbon footprint. It can also mean increasing one’s community impact. Key areas of environmental impact to local communities by both your company and your suppliers and vendors include: emissions, water usage, waste and ecosystems.

Weighing the Factors

Let’s translate the traditional SWOT analysis into a format that applies to this transition:

  • Strengths = Reasons for moving towards sustainable business practices
  • Weaknesses = Barriers that could get in the way of this transition
  • Opportunities = Rewards for moving in this direction.
  • Threats = Consequences of not making the transition

Reasons for making the move – The benefits of moving toward sustainable business practices are many and may include compliance with regulation, increased customer satisfaction, employee goodwill, better brand image and a happier board of directors. And let’s not forget reduced waste and reduced costs.

Barriers to entry – Organizations considering a transition to sustainable business practices may not find it easy. First, the chances of success are highest when buy-in is attained at the highest levels of your organization. However, if your executive team is not yet ready to take the next step, you as an IT asset manager can certainly implement more sustainable business practices within your purview. Second, finding opportunities that are measurable can be a challenge. There is a plethora of greenwashing out there, and it is often difficult to know what is true.

Consequences of not making the move – What happens if you don’t make the transition to sustainable business practices? You could lose customers to organizations that are taking a more proactive approach to environmental, social or governance issues. You run the risk of alienating investors who finally see ESG as mandatory. Every department in your organization has a role to play in making progress toward net-zero goals. IT asset management can either lead, follow or be humiliated without a plan of action for contributing meaningfully. Where do you want to be?

Rewards for the transition – The rewards of embracing a transition to sustainability and ESG values will compound over time. Progressive companies will attract forward-thinking investors, team members and customers. ESG-oriented vendors will want to do business with you. Your organization can be run more efficiently and your community standing will be enhanced. And as an individual, you will be welcome in the multitude of new sustainability groups where you can share ideas and learn from your peers.

Next Steps

There is a lot to know about sustainability and ESG, and it is changing constantly. There are organizations creating standards to measure ESG that are used by your investors, supply chain partners and customers. Common impact areas addressed by these standards include: greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), forestry, water, waste & pollution, worker safety, jobs impact, total materials used, use of recycled materials, package/product lifecycle management and circularity. Most standards relate activities to the widely accepted UN Sustainable Development Goals. Leading standards organizations that are developing best practices in which your organization may be participating include GRI, SASB and CDP, a not-for-profit charity that runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental impacts. Your challenge is to educate yourself so that you can make a meaningful contribution using whatever influence or power you have at your disposal.

Onepak Launches Carbon Offset Management Services

Boston, Feb. 17, 2021 – Onepak announced today that it is the first in its industry to launch a carbon offset management service to document and offset the carbon footprint of every shipment. This means it is also the first to provide carbon-neutral asset recovery logistics.

Pioneer in carbon neutral asset recovery adds service for clients to measure, manage and offset their Scope 3 emissions.

Long known as a leader in creative reverse logistics technologies, Onepak has emerged as a leading platform services company in the circular economy space. Onepak has now added its Carbon Offset Management Services to its loop logistics ecosystem.

“Now that we can manage, track and offset the carbon footprint of our multi-layered logistics services, we decided to add a technology layer so that our clients will benefit as well,” said Steve Andon, Onepak CEO.

Going forward, an element of Carbon Offset Management Services will be built into every service Onepak provides. This is particularly meaningful for IT asset recovery programs, where Onepak provides not only onsite packing, pickup and transportation, but also the data that electronics OEMS require to comply with producer responsibility regulations. “It only makes sense that a takeback program for a leasing company or OEM should be carbon neutral,” said Andon.

Loop Logistics Ecosystem

There is a reason this has not been done before.

“The reverse part of loop logistics is usually fragmented and difficult to manage, even without the challenge of measuring its emissions, but fragmented and difficult is our specialty,” added Andon. “If we hadn’t spent the last fifteen years investing in a technology ecosystem that digitally connects all the stakeholders in these complex transactions, we would never have been able to accurately calculate and report on the environmental impact, but here we are, and now we can.”

Many companies find that 80% or more of their greenhouse gas emissions come from their value chain. The Corporate Value Chain (Scope 3) Standard includes activities that a company does not control directly (such as outsourced asset recovery logistics).

“We want to do our part to help our clients move toward carbon neutrality and to improve their ESG ratings,” said Andon. “Onepak minimizes environmental impact through improved routing and optimized logistics during the asset recovery process—and now we can offset that impact.”

CO2 contributes most to GHG emissions (>95%), so measuring and offsetting CO2 emissions is Onepak’s focus for this program. To be considered truly carbon neutral, Onepak is committed to removing as much carbon as is emitted through the services it provides.

Onepak uses an independent third party to coordinate the creation of carbon removal projects and the issuance, sale and retirement of their associated offset credits for every tonne of CO2 removed from the atmosphere and stored in the ground. This alignment enables Onepak to focus on carbon removal rather than emissions avoidance or reduction. Independent 3rd party verifiers authenticate each carbon removal certificate, which is tracked on blockchain to ensure complete transparency and accountability.

Dedicated to advancing the 10 principles of the UN Global Compact and the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, Onepak’s Carbon Offset Management Services program is committed to helping clients minimize, track and offset their environmental impact.

About Onepak
Founded in 2005, Onepak technologies digitize logistics for the global circular economy. Onepak has managed more than one million reverse and return shipments representing more than one billion pounds of reusable and recyclable materials diverted from landfills into the circular economy. The Onepak platform connects and coordinates fragmented services to manage the movement of goods that will be reused, resold or recycled through their circular supply chain.

Media Contact:
Shawn Stockman
Tel: 207.236.4222

Phone: (888) 625-6116

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