Eighteen months after launch, a partnership between financier Quadrent and BNZ is reducing e-waste by repurposing business technology for local communities.
Four hundred previously leased laptops have been donated to colleges from organizations such as PwC, Bell Gully, ANZCO, Buddle Findlay, EnviroNZ and Te Puni Kōkiri – Ministry of Māori Development since 2022.
Recipients include Te Wharekura O Arowhenua and Aurora College (Invercargill), Tōnui Collab (Tairāwhiti) for students from flood affected schools including Te Aute College (Central Hawkes Bay) and Hukarere Girls College (Eskdale) and most recently Tangaroa College (Ōtara, South Auckland) ).
However, Quadrent’s vision is to donate 20,000 laptops a year to students in need and is aiming for further partnerships with organizations that can move that needle, Quadrent New Zealand general manager Gary Nalder said.
Quadrent is working with customers to buy back some of their current laptop fleet so they can be donated to digital inclusion projects next year. This could potentially number more than a thousand laptops.
New Zealanders still generate three times the global average of e-waste annually: 19.2 kg per person per year.
“Traditional supply chains, procurement and ownership models linked to technology are simply not delivering what we need them to do because they contribute to two of New Zealand’s most pressing problems: waste and digital inequality,” Nalder said.
One in ten New Zealanders are excluded from performing basic technology tasks, he said.
Quadrent’s Green Lease allowed companies to fund technology purchases via a BNZ-backed Green Lease. At the end of the devices’ business life cycle, it is sent back to Quadrent, which recycles and redistributes the technology, donating a portion of high-specification and high-quality devices to communities that need them.
“We’re giving large organizations a way to transform the way technology is used, particularly when it comes to reducing e-waste and emissions and helping vulnerable communities around New Zealand get online and take part in the digital economy,” said Nalder.
Only half of the 800 students at Otara’s Tangaroa College, for example, had access to a computer that enabled them to complete their learning.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, government-supplied home learning units were shared by up to twelve people, with students submitting homework at 4 a.m. because that was the only time they had access to a device.
“I can’t tell you how much of a difference it makes … to be able to set up a class and know that everyone is tuned in to you as opposed to using their own cell phone or sharing a chromebook,” said Rob Downie , Head of Health and Physical Education at Tangaroa College.
Now the school is able to give each student a unit in class so they can focus on their work individually.
Nalder said he believed increased uptake would come as a result of momentum around ESG.
“Consumer demand, investor pressure and global challenges such as climate change have accelerated the focus on ESG for long-term success,” he said.
“ESG principles are now central to business strategies that promote sustainable and responsible practices.”
The technology is also managed throughout its life cycle to ensure that it is safely disposed of and environmentally recycled, reused or redistributed in accordance with cyber security and ESG policies.
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Tags green ITESGBNZrecycled PCsQuadrenteconomioc social governance