In March 2011, Comtek played host to a stellar line-up of industry leaders, MPs and members of the press at an event held on the House Of Common’s Terrace organised to raise awareness of the need to enforce more sustainable practices within businesses.
Chaired and hosted by Mark Tami, MP for Alyn and Deeside, attendees at the seminar entitled “Re-use, Repair and Reduce: The 3R’s for a sustainable society » heard Askar Sheibani, CEO and MD of Comtek, advocate a change in the culture of our society, whilst calling on the Government to bring in practices to encourage organisations to sweat their assets.
« Our policy makers in Government are in a position where they can change perceptions, change practices and make a difference to the mounting problem of E-waste, » said Sheibani. « As a business we can make a change by creating local jobs, by training staff and being a source of development. However, to make a real difference, we need to see a total shift in our business culture. Sustainability shouldn’t start and end at building more environmentally friendly solutions, policy needs to be created which encourages organisations to make the most of their existing IT assets and to think twice before shelving perfectly usable solutions. »
The Keynote Speaker Catalina McGregor whom many consider is The Founding Father of Green ICT in UK Government and now working with the UN ITUT said that the entire product life cycle was still « poorly calculated » in terms of both CO2 and pollution levels.
« We are at a stage where we need to accept the integrated technoprint of mining, manufacturing, shipping and packaging is significant but we cannot afford to ignore the intensive footprint associated with using the web and our mobile networks, » she said. « The leaders driving the refurbishment and recycling sectors don’t realise it yet, but they have dynamically changed the IT and communications sectors towards longer life products and are saving immeasurable pollution. »
Gary Griffiths, RDC Head of Sustainability and Chair of BIS WEEE Reuse Working Group provided insight on PAS 141 – the new standard for the reuse of used and waste electrical and electronic equipment. « PAS 141 is a new government specification due to be published at the end of March 2011. It aims to increase the amount of reuse and assure reusers that equipment is safe after testing. We want to make PAS 141 certification a requirement for all players in the WEEE treatment chain to raise standards.
« Anyone exporting WEEE overseas in compliance with PAS 141 will not be the focus of attention – the illegal exporters will instead find the regulatory spotlight turned on them. »
Miriam Kennet, co-founder and CEO of the Green Economics Institute, explained the green economy and the role that the networking sector can play within it. « Green economics is the economics of doing and the economics of sharing. It asks you to completely rethink the philosophy and the methodology we’ve applied up to now. What that means in practice is that we need to think about our actions in everyday life. « We don’t have to take the fastest method of transport, we can hold a teleconference instead of an in-person global meeting, we can use open-source software. Ultimately, we can reduce, reuse, recycle and repair and alter our lifestyle to really make a difference in our society, as well as the bottom-line. »
Meanwhile Computer Aid International’s CEO David Barker ran through the recent findings of the report: « Green ICT – what producers must do » and Rob Jones ICT sector lead at the Carbon Trust, provided attendees with an understanding of the carbon life cycle.
The event marks another milestone in Comtek’s continuing campaign to lobby the government to encourage and enforce more sustainable practices within the business community. It is hoped that the event will spark further discussion on the subject, potentially elevating the discussion to European level: “This is just the beginning,” concluded Sheibani. “It is up to those of us in industry to work hard to support each other in our objectives and continue to lobby for change here and escalate the issue right into the heart of European Parliament.”