Selecting your data
Selecting your data

Selecting your data

Created
Apr 5, 2022 10:40 AM

When implementing SPP in specific procurement categories, it is important to understand what factors should be monitored to measure the impact of the contract across the three sustainability pillars.

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In this section, we identify which are the key sustainability variables in ICT procurement. Each factor is presented as a data group, highlighting which is the most relevant information that should be captured to determine the impact that each group will have on the sustainability of the procurement.

Recycled content

The use of recycled materials in ICT equipment can contribute to lower its environmental impact. Some of the variables that can be considered are:

Total recycled content

One variable that should be considered when procuring ICT equipment is the total  % of recycled content.

Post-consumer recycled plastic

Ecolabels, such as TCO, measure, specifically, the use of post-consumer recycled plastic (plastic derived from used consumer products, such as bottles, or recycled IT products). It is calculated that plastic represents around 21% of the material content in IT equipment, thus, encouraging the use of a minimum % of plastic derived from used consumer products (post-consumer recycled plastic) can have a positive impact on the environment.

Recycled packaging materials

Recycled content in packaging materials should also be monitored. This can include for example ensuring that paper-based packaging is 100% recycled, and complies with the standards set by ecolabels such as Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Recycled printing paper

Another variable that can be considered when procuring ICT equipment, particularly printing equipment, is whether 100% recycled paper can be used in the printer. Another variable that can also be used to measure the sustainability of printing equipment can be whether double sided-printing is an integral capability of the equipment and set as default.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency is the main variable that will determine the environmental impact of an ICT product during its use life. To measure energy efficiency, Typical Energy Consumption (ETEC) per year should be captured (calculated in kWh). Compliance with Energy Star can be set as technical specification to ensure better energy efficiency, this indicates that the product uses less energy than at least 75% of available products in the market.

Hazardous substances

The use of hazardous substances in ICT equipment can be dangerous for those handling the materials throughout the life-cycle of the product, from manufacturing to waste management. Information can be required from the supplier regarding the efforts to reduce or eliminate the use of these substances.

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For displays, for example, on pages 124 to 134 TCO includes guidelines on the maximum concentration of hazardous substances that these products should contain. Note that it is important to check context specific regulations, as national regulation usually includes specific provisions on hazardous substances use. TCO also provides a list with approved substances that can be used as guidance.

Repairability, upgradeability and recyclability

Sustainable practices in the ICT sector aim to promote circularity and prolong the use life of existing equipment in order to minimize the environmental impact associated with the manufacturing of new equipment. Repairing, upgrading and recycling existing equipment is one of the main ways to achieve this goal. To measure the repairability, upgradeability and recyclability of ICT equipment, the following variables can be considered:

Availability of spare parts

Most ICT sustainability standards determine that spare parts should be available for a minimum period of 4 years after end of production.

Availability of repairing service

If the manufacturer, brand, or reseller, offers a repair service as part of the contract is another variable that can help to ensure repairability of ICT equipment. It should also be captured whether the expenses associated with this service will be incurred by the public authority or the supplier, and whether this will be for the whole use life of the equipment, which is usually a minimum of 3-4 years. Generally, if repair costs are carried by the supplier, it can be an incentive to design a product that is easier to repair and recycle.

Availability and usability of repairing instructions

To promote the repairability of ICT equipment, sellers should include a Service Manual with instructions on how to repair the equipment. The TCO Ecolabel includes standards of what information should be included on these manuals. If ICT equipment is designed in a way that facilitates the replaceability of its components, it will not only help to extend use life, but it will also increase the equipment’s recyclability.

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Page 117 to 123 of the TCO criteria for displays include a list of the components that should be replaceable in different types of ICT equipment, what criteria can be used to evaluate their replaceability, and the instructions given to do so.

Data security

Data security information is a variable that should be captured to ensure that privacy and security have been built into the procured ICT hardware. Page 15 of HP’s sustainable IT purchasing guide provides guidance on data security information that procurers can require of potential vendors and the technology purchased.

End-of-life management

In order to promote the circularity of ICT equipment, it is important to collect information regarding the services the supplier offers at the end of the use life of the equipment. For example, this can be clearly captured whether the supplier can provide a take-back, re-use or recycling service, and whether this service is also available for individual components, such as batteries.

Supply chain information

One of the key issues within the ICT sector is the lack of transparency regarding the supply chain, which is often associated with occupational health and safety violations, and labour rights vulnerabilities. Requesting and capturing the following information from the supplier is an important step towards to promote social sustainability in the ICT sector:

Supply chain information

One of the variables that can be captured from a supplier, is whether there is publicly available information regarding the supply chain. This would ideally include all the different companies involved, from mining, to refineries, component producers, manufacturers, etc. This information can be required of the equipment that is the subject matter of the contract.

Supplier Code of Conduct or Supplier Policy

Suppliers should monitor labor rights through a publicly accessible Code of Conduct or Supplier Policy.

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According to TCO standards, this code should be consistent with:
ILO’s eight core conventions: 29, 87, 98, 100, 105, 111, 138 and 182.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, article 32.
All applicable local and national health and safety labor laws effective in the country of manufacture, and a maximum 60-hour workweek including overtime.

The supplier should also provide information on how this Code of Conduct is transmitted to supply chain (translations, questionnaires, training, etc.), how it is monitored (frequency, identification of countries or suppliers with higher risk, etc.), corrective actions taken, and any collaboration with third parties to monitor compliance with Code of Conduct.

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Resources Introducing responsible supply-chain criteria in the procurement process:

Introducing general sustainability criteria in the procurement process: