" ITREALMS: Bridging the Gap: Strategies for business sustainability by Emma Asika - ITREALMS

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Bridging the Gap: Strategies for business sustainability by Emma Asika - ITREALMS

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The world’s natural reserves are fast diminishing at a worrisome speed, almost two times quicker than mother earth can recreate. This figure is projected to be 2.3 times what is sustainable by 2050. Yearly, 50 million tonnes of e-waste contribute to this, which is tantamount to the size of all commercial aircraft ever made.
Bridging the Gap: Strategies for business sustainability by Emma Asika - ITREALMS
Hence, achieving a sustainable environment is incumbent on implementing a circular business model like waste reduction, recycling, and regenerating products, and advocating sustainable production processes.

Nonetheless, global economy is just 7.2% circular – implying that more ground needs to be covered.

With an essential role expected of multinationals, organizations of every size and sector can still adopt circular business models. Considerably, SMEs are driving platform sharing and collaborative consumption much as start-ups, from the onset, are incorporating circular models. An excellent example of this seen in Nigeria, where business sustainability focus is circular as propagated by the Nigeria Circular Economy Working Group, a founding member of the Africa Circular Economy Alliance.

Incidentally, HP is deepening sustainability with years of experience. Its operations’ journey, particularly, will be entirely circular, driven by services and products modifications. Below are few approaches to reference:

Getting the Buy-in of the Considerate Consumer

Customers are getting more aware today than ever. So, businesses that make circularity a priority will accomplish long-term environmental and commercial profits; and ultimately fulfil customer expectations.

While circularity models need upfront funding, it helps to reduce outlays, optimize efficiency, and even discover new revenue sources. To further endear customer trust and loyalty, organizations must offer measurement tools that identify waste prevention and cost optimization mechanisms that help to establish enterprise superiority.

Circular enterprise models also produce profitable results. For instance, our Sustainable Impact Strategy has been boosted by HP’s socio-economic components on climate-focused programs. HP’s alliance with NGOs to launch an ocean-bound plastics recycling program to help indigenous workers is yielding positives in Haiti. Now, these plastics are fused into HP products design aesthetics, encouraging circularity, and providing revenue and homegrown education opportunities.

Start and continue with the environment as a priority

As a rule, circular products are designed with environmental considerations from the start. Sustainable sourcing should be among the initial priorities, with concentration on ethical practices and ambitious but attainable goals. This ties in to ‘Circular Lagos’, a sustainability initiative of the Lagos State government which seeks to design economic value from waste recycling.

As reference case, HP, since 2016 has mandated all its brand papers to be derived from ecologically reusable or certified sources. It was extended to paper-based packaging in 2020 for home and office printers and supplies, PCs and displays. By 2030, HP’s goal is to become Forest Positive; thereby, eliminating deforestation for non-HP paper used in print services and product lines.

What creates distinction in packaging is innovation. 100% compostable chitin-based materials are a new development, whereas 3D-printed moulded fibre tooling can drive eco-packaging at scale. Printing improvements, including printing directly onto product cargo boxes and using water-based inks most likely initiate supplementary benefits. HP’s goal is to eradicate 75% of single-use plastic packaging by 2025 compared to 2018―as of 2021, we were halfway there. Commendable Indeed!

Decrease waste, enhance lifecycle

One vital aspect for electronic devices is energy usage, though this can be puzzling for consumers. Companies and institutions can help customers make valid choices. Also with comparison tools, manufacturers can assist with clear and accurate details on labels, packaging, along with marketing and brand collaterals.

HP supplies are often highly valued for repairability, with institutions like iFixit providing reparability scores and self-repair (DIY) guides. Institutions can help in reducing request for fresh raw supplies by giving extended warranties and ensuring repair options.

Clearly, sustainable customer experience can be improved with ‘as-a-service models’; whilst promoting circularity through company-led takeback; hence, responsible companies aim to be value facilitators via repair and reuse of supplies when customers are done with them.

Significance of closed-loop recycling

Closed-loop reutilizing plays huge part in circularity, and HP is loaded with initiatives to support it. A good case study is HP’s Planet Partners program that helps to ensure that ink and toner cartridges do not end up in landfills. Over a billion cartridges have been recycled through this program, a major landmark in 2023. Provisionally, HP's Evocyle toner cartridges, made from closed-loop recycled plastic, are serving the sustainability goals of customers in France, Germany, and the UK.

In the reuse of a much wider range of resources, we are also getting better. For example, you might find bio-derived content like coffee grounds in monitors or cooking oil in laptop covers.

Partnership−a necessary paradigm for enterprise scaling

A circular business model is vital. It’s hinged on team play and partnerships with strategic stakeholders - government, suppliers, merchants/dealers etc. Strengthening networks with NGOs, research institutes, and think tanks, also positions serious institutions above contemporaries. Lagos has entrenched the model by introducing initiatives which encourage community members to drop off used plastic bottles and containers at designated recycling points for reuse.

To improve its fibre sourcing and certification programs, HP is collaborating with World Wildlife Fund and the Forest Stewardship Council.

Regardless of where they are on their circularity journey, collaboration certainly benefits all types of companies. Participating in industry bodies, working with manufacturing partners, and ideas exchange with regulators and professional associations can help advance policy influencing, build consensus, and progress legislation.

Institutions with established existing programs perhaps extend their impact by involving their business environment. Another reference now driving change at scale is HP's Amplify Impact partner program, which has engaged over 3,500 partners worldwide.

Envision the future

A vision of a more regenerative and sustainable future is presented with the concept of a circular economy. It could boost the global economy by $4.5 trillion by 2030, if executed appropriately, with accountable sourcing and packaging, materials and products that remain in use longer, and closed loop recycling.

Evolution to circularity is now a necessity with no option. To actualize it, we must immediately shift mindsets, embrace circular practices, and cultivate alliance and frameworks essential for success. Bountiful rewards sure await the businesses that leads the way.

Nigeria, the leading importer of electrical and electronic equipment on the African continent which processes over half a million tons of discarded electronics each year, in January 2022, amended its national environmental regulations to tackle the country’s growing e-waste problem.

So, whether you are just starting or already on the path ― the time is here and now to take the next big step. The future is indeed circular, and it's up to businesses globally to make it come to fruition.

*Contributed by Emmanuel Asika, Country Head, HP Nigeria

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