IVL Swedish Environmental Institute saves both money and the environment through circular IT

IVL 6 October 2021 4 minutes reading

The IT department at IVL Swedish Environmental Institute has realised that they save both money and the environment by managing their IT in a circular way. It's alla about using the products for as long as possible, making sure they go for reuse when they're done, and finding the right partner to give them a new life. Peter Lindén, Head of IT at IVL, shares his best tips and advices.

IVL Swedish Environmental Institute is one of Sweden's leading research institutes for applied environmental and sustainability research. They work in close collaboration with industry and the public sector. Together with partners and clients, IVL works to meet both the global sustainability goals and the Swedish environmental goals. Internally, sustainability is also high on the agenda. For IVL's employees, it goes without saying that sustainability should permeate the entire organisation.

- We work to reduce our carbon footprint in every small part of our business, whether it's office furniture, coffee cups or computers. It's a given as it's part of our DNA, as all our work is based on our environmental and sustainability research. Our internal sustainability work is therefore just as important as the environmental benefits we achieve with our customers, says Peter Lindén.

When it comes to IT, IVL also has a sustainability focus and therefore leases powerful computers that last a long time. When an employee stops working or needs to update his or her computer, we make sure that it is reused.

More than ten years ago, IVL started buying reused computers for its laboratory operations from Inrego. Since then, the partnership has evolved to where all of the employees' phones are purchased from Inrego and computers that are no longer in use are sent to Inrego for a new life.

- We make sure to reuse the computers internally as much as possible. If there is nothing wrong with a computer that comes to us, it can be used by a graduate researcher for example, says Peter Lindén. Our employees are very good at taking care of their computers and they are usually in very good condition when they are returned to us.

Something that was originally a strategic sustainability issue for IVL has also become a financial issue. In the past, employees were given new Android phones and different models, and version management made the work of IT support difficult. Now the company has started to buy reused iPhones instead, which has made the work easier for IT while not increasing the purchase costs.

- The Android models from different manufacturers required a lot from the IT department, so from a management perspective it's nice to only have to manage one operating system, says Peter Lindén. But financially, we would never have been able to switch to iPhone if we had bought new phones because it's so expensive. The used iPhones we buy from Inrego have a one-year warranty, are of high quality and we expect to be able to use them for several years.

Peter Lindén can attest that it doesn't have to be very complicated what an organisation or company can do to take the step towards a more sustainable and circular business. So what to consider when it comes to sustainable IT management? Here are Peter Lindén's top tips for other IT managers:

1. Ask yourself if the need actually requires new or if reused can work just as well. Remember that not everything has to be new unless you have employees with special needs that require the latest equipment.

  • Try to use IT products for as long as possible.

  • Collect any IT that is not being used and make sure it is reused.

  • If you feel unsure - make sure the supplier you choose can demonstrate what is happening to the products. Get reports on what is happening with each product and evidence that it has been security cleared.

  • Choose a supplier that is niched to the particular service you are looking for.