Bringing Carbon Offset To Corporate Purchasing

By Varinderjit Singh, General Manager, Lenovo Malaysia

For years, carbon offset has been associated with the airline industry. Through the scheme, travellers can compensate for the environmental impact of their flights and reduce their carbon footprint. While the initiative has not gained much traction beyond the aviation industry, this will soon change – starting with the IT industry.

Choosing carbon transparency

If consumer preference is of any indication, we see an increase in their choice to support sustainable businesses. Label Insights found that 73 percent of consumers would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency about its manufacturing process. A survey by Lenzing also revealed that 87 percent of respondents consider brands more trustworthy if they were transparent about their sustainable practices. 

As sustainable practices and net-zero commitments gain momentum among businesses all over the world, organisations have a growing need to understand the direct impact of their IT tools and products on the environment.

Sustainable options as the way forward   

As it happens, carbon offset has started to gain ground in the IT industry. As one of the world’s first technology companies to tie dedicated offsets to individual products, Lenovo has recently launched the CO2 Offset Services across Asia Pacific. This initiative allows corporations to seamlessly offset the carbon emissions generated by selected Lenovo products in their entire PC lifecycle at the point of purchase.

This unique offering allows businesses to see the direct carbon offset results through the purchases they make. With compensations calculated based on realistic emissions, the service then provides customers with transparent and measurable information on what carbon impact the individual product purchased has. Organisations are then presented with different options to offset the product’s carbon footprint.

Offset projects span a range of United Nations-approved initiatives across continents and hemispheres. It includes a biomass energy project that generates electricity using a sugar mill, a wind energy project that produces clean and renewable energy, a project that offers to dispose of waste safely and cleanly while generating renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases, to name a few. A certificate confirming the offset emissions for each product’s serial number is issued with the purchase, along with an official certifying badge for each product.

Reducing carbon emissions is a social responsibility not only for the consumers but even more so for businesses. As Niclas Svenningsen, Manager for Global Climate Action at UN Climate Change, said, “Climate action is more urgent than ever. Consumers’ awareness about the issue is at an all-time high, and leading companies have been preparing for this and are responding to it.”

The collaboration between the UN and Lenovo under the Climate Neutral Now initiative aims to raise awareness further and encourage the use of carbon markets as a tool to accelerate climate action. Lenovo is at the forefront of it.

Lenovo has pioneered an innovative low-temperature solder technology — and shared it with the industry for free to ensure the greatest long-term global benefit. On the ThinkPad® and laptop lines alone, this technology saves the CO2 emissions equivalent of 670,179 gallons of gasoline per year.

Furthermore, Lenovo continues to work towards ways to reduce emissions throughout its entire supply chain. The company has exceeded its first-generation emissions reduction target and reduced greenhouse gas emissions in its global operations by 92 percent. By 2025, Lenovo will eliminate one million tons of greenhouse gas emissions from its supply chain.

The future of purchasing beyond the aviation and tech industries

Lenovo’s carbon offset initiative is a pioneer which allows businesses to draw a clear line from their purchases to the number of metric tons that are then offset.

So far, more than 26,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (corresponding approximately to the emissions of 1.7 million miles of air travel have already been offset by Lenovo’s corporate customers globally.

This trend towards transparent purchases is becoming a global movement, and Lenovo is spearheading this service all over Asia Pacific, including Malaysia and around the globe.

This is just the beginning. Carbon offset presents a new way forward in green procurement, setting a new model for companies to aspire to and paving the way for the future of corporate purchases.

The vision is that product labels with eco-transparency and carbon offset information will eventually become the standard and norm in the future – not just for flights and IT, but in everything else as well.

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