The Nordics push for the global IT sector to turn circular

Game of Phones throne
Maria Greve & Maria Færgemann Eg from Nordea in the "Game of Phones throne"
19-05-20 10:40 | Responsible business | Environment

In March 2019, Nordea and SB Insights jointly published a report on circular economy, a topic on the rise in the Nordic region as well as globally. In the capacity as a member of the Advisory Board of the network Atea Sustainability Focus (ASF), Nordea has teamed up with other large Nordic companies to develop measures and recommendations for how the global IT sector may benefit from turning circular. 

ASF’s purpose is to use the collective voice of the Nordic IT buyers to influence the global IT industry towards more sustainable operations by embracing the blueprint provided by the Sustainable Development Goals offered by the UN. Turning the IT sector circular would be a significant leap forward and contribute substantially to lowering the industry’s carbon footprint and Nordea now looks at how ASF’s recommendations can be converted into concrete measures - starting with our own supply chains. 

- There is an urgent need to rethink current business models. The transition into a circular economy would generate substantial positive effects on our environment and is a prerequisite to ensure a more sustainable IT industry. We acknowledge the complexity of the subject and have aimed to make the recommendations as concrete and constructive as possible, while still being clear about the objective of attaining a systemic change of the industry, says Maria Færgemann Eg, Sustainable Procurement Manager at Nordea and member of the ASF’s Advisory Board.

ASF provides a valuable platform for the Responsible Business Alliance and the global IT industry to engage directly and effectively with the Nordic market – considered to be at the forefront when it comes to sustainability. The Advisory Board consists of representatives from some of Sweden’s most well-known companies; IKEA, H&M, Alfa Laval as well as Uppsala Municipality, Malmö Municipality, Swedish National Agency for Public Procurement and Systembolaget. A stakeholder dialogue with professionals from the IT sector, sustainability and procurement, and an industry analysis conducted by the sustainability consultancy firm Ethos International resulted in the following mission statement by the ASF Advisory Board to the RBA and its member companies:

“Develop and implement a 2050 climate-neutral and competitive Business Roadmap for the transition into a circular economy.” 

To attain that, the following key activities were identified:

  • Initiate the development of a certifiable ISO standard on circularity for the IT industry
  • Establish principles for including circular economy provisions in the Code of Conduct and audit protocols
  • Establish a task force on circularity focused on influencing international rules and regulations and sustainability labels towards circularity
  • Facilitate roundtable discussions on circular economy design and marketing
  • Launch academy trainings on circular design
  • Facilitate stakeholder dialogues regarding the standardization of components and materials – “one cord only”

As the largest bank in the Nordic region, we believe we have both a responsibility as well as an opportunity to influence the global industry by engaging in partnerships and initiatives that align with our vision of a sustainable economy.  This also extends to the supply chain where Nordea, following the participation in the Advisory Board, is further formalizing how the procurement processes can support the transition towards a circular economy.

Circular business and its practical implementation have long been of interest to Nordea and last year Sasja Beslik, Head of Sustainable Finance at Nordea, conducted a field trip to the circular company Inrego at the outskirts of Stockholm to see firsthand how a circular business operates on site. Inrego reuses IT equipment that would otherwise have been sent for recycling and is a tangible example of a corporate customer perspective on sustainability.

To read more about our sustainability work, please have a look at our 2018 sustainability report (pdf, 3 MB).

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