Thibault Dousson, the Services and Solutions Lead at Lenovo META, speaks about how technology can help contribute to sustainability
How does technology contribute to sustainability?
We believe that the rapidly changing global context urges the tech industry at large to respond with smarter technologies and innovations, as well as more responsible operations, seizing every opportunity to decarbonize the global economy and build a more sustainable future. By implementing new, sustainable technologies into operational and manufacturing processes, we are contributing to reducing our overall environmental impact in measurable and meaningful ways.
What sort of sustainability efforts does your company practice? Examples: minimal/recyclable packaging, use of recycled material for devices, green energy, low energy consumption, digital products and services, and so on.
Lenovo has a long track record of addressing environmental issues. We are investing in environmentally sustainable business practices, product designs, and services, which enable customers to reach their ESG goals and support Lenovo’s commitment to carbon neutrality and net-zero carbon economies.
Throughout FY2021/22, Lenovo increased participation in the circular economy, integrating new recycled materials such as magnesium, aluminum, and ocean-bound plastic into products. Lenovo has also grown its use of plastic from recycled electronics to 248 products, from 103 products reported in FY2020-21. Additionally, Lenovo made progress in establishing its vision for net-zero emissions by 2050.
The company’s emissions reduction targets for reaching net-zero are under review by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) for validation against the Net-Zero Standard. In FY2021/22, Lenovo reported its progress toward the 2030 emission reduction goals, including a 15% reduction in direct emissions. The company is increasing its focus on collaborating with suppliers to reduce emissions intensity across the value chain.
Lenovo has also pioneered notable innovations like the Lenovo TruScale which offers technology equipment and services on a subscription or “as-a-service” basis, minimizing waste throughout the value chain; the use of low-temperature solder technology which reduces greenhouse gas emissions during the production of PCs; the Lenovo Neptune Direct Water-Cooling technology which delivers industry-leading data centre efficiency by recycling loops of warm water to cool systems and enable customers to reduce power consumption by up to 40 percent.
Over a decade ago, Lenovo began using 100% recycled and recyclable packaging material. Instead of using polystyrene packaging, we now encourage the use of molded pulp, fiber, and low-density polyethylene (LDPE). And in 2018, we began implementing the use of innovative bio-based packaging made from bamboo and sugar cane fiber. The material is not only 100 percent biodegradable, but also lighter than the previous packaging and its strength characteristics enable design improvements that reduce overall package size.
Do we need to look at sustainability beyond the use of “green energy”?
We believe that environmental stewardship goes well beyond the use of green energy, which is just one tool in the toolbox. We are leveraging our integrated capabilities across different aspects of sustainability, fostering a more circular economy, driving out waste across the value chain, reducing the usage of virgin materials in products, focusing on renewables, and always maintaining rigorous supplier standards aligned with our mission.
How can companies reduce their carbon footprint? Are there local or regional initiatives that encourage companies to adopt best practices?
Local governments across the Middle East have introduced a variety of initiatives, encouraging companies to implement sustainable practices. For instance, among the UAE’s environmental projects are the UAE Vision 2021, the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, which calls for the country to use 50 percent clean energy by 2050, and the UAE Climate-Responsible Companies Pledge, which aims to increase the engagement of the private sector in the country’s decarbonization drive. These initiatives serve as the foundation for most new initiatives, including Lenovo’s expansion of the CO2 Offset Service to the region.
Lenovo CO2 Offset Service is a simple solution for both companies and consumers to help them reduce their carbon footprint and meet their own environmental goals. Through a simple purchase add-on, customers can offset the carbon emissions produced from the manufacture to the shipping of their PC or server, as well as the power consumed over the device’s lifecycle. Working through a third-party global advisor, the funds are channeled towards UN-approved environmental projects like windmills, solar cells, and renewable energy initiatives. To date, Lenovo’s customers have offset more than 1 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide from their purchases of Think PCs.
What challenges do companies face today in their journey toward net zero and how can technology help solve those issues?
Although the environmental impact has become a vital business criterion, companies might face a lack of technologies that would make their journey toward net zero simpler and more transparent. We see that both companies and consumers are increasingly on the lookout for new IT solutions that can address their ESG-related needs and help them achieve their green goals. Lenovo is committed to supporting customers in their own sustainability efforts to help them reduce their environmental impact.
The introduction of our CO2 Offset Service was intended to meet customers’ growing desire for eco-transparency in all their purchases and help them better understand and offset their individual carbon footprint. We are glad we found a solution that makes understanding the ecological impact of every individual product and its lifetime usage simple and transparent, offering a simple way for enterprises and consumers to offset carbon emissions and contribute to specific ecological projects.
What factors can help companies advance toward their sustainability goals?
We believe that it is important to implement sustainable practices in various business processes. In order to achieve our net-zero ambitions and reduce our overall environmental impact, it is crucial to act with a larger purpose in mind throughout the system’s entire life, from acquisition to disposal, from decreasing paper and plastic packaging waste to providing customers with innovative, highly efficient components. With this in mind, we will continue to develop innovative sustainable solutions across hardware, infrastructure, software, and services.