Right now, us humans and our planet are facing many serious sustainability challenges. It may feel overwhelming at times but increasingly, I feel the wind of change blowing and that we are starting to head in the right direction. For over 5 years, I’ve supported purchasers in their work with sustainable procurement, and during the last couple of years, the awareness of sustainability issues seem to have grown dramatically.

Blog by:
Annika Overödder

Nordics

More and more often, purchasers reach out, wanting help with purchasing IT products that are kinder to the environment, and the people working in the supply chain.

Designing your own criteria to procure IT products can be tricky and require continual updates. The technical development in the IT sector is rapid, just as the development within the sustainability field. Even more complicated and resource demanding is to carry out factory audits and product tests to check if the products you want to buy actually meet your set criteria. It takes expertise, and access to the long and winding supply chains, that in most cases are spread over several continents.

But even though it’s hard and complex, the work needs to be done. IT products are connected to major social and environmental challenges, and any organization that is serious about sustainability should prioritize this product category in its sustainable procurement efforts. Working hours, health and safety and forced labor are examples of industry-wide issues in factories where IT products are made. Harmful substances, conflict minerals and short product life spans that hinders circularity, are three other problems that need to be addressed. The IT industry is in many cases open for more sustainable solutions, but wait for customer demand before they make the move.

So, what is the best way forward? My suggestion is of course that you use TCO Certified. It makes responsible IT purchases so much easier. TCO Certified is a global, leading and complete sustainability certification that covers the full IT product life cycle. Social and environmental criteria, adapted for 11 different product categories, are included and ready to be used. To stay current, these criteria are updated every three years. On top of this and maybe even better — product tests and factory audits are included too. Every year, independent verifiers spend more than 20,000 hours assessing criteria compliance, which makes TCO Certified one of the most robust certification systems on the market.

Using TCO Certified is completely free of charge, and rather simple: you specify that the products must be certified according to TCO Certified in your purchasing contracts and make sure that vendors show a valid product certificate as proof of compliance. Then, you get access to this ready-made package of comprehensive, relevant and updated criteria and independent verification of compliance — which means that your organization will save both time and resources.