Over the past six years, Green4Good’s unique IT asset-retiring program has diverted more than a million computers, laptops, servers and printers away from landfills, raising more than $2-million for charity in the process. Here’s how it works: Green4Good, a division of Compugen Finance, collects “end-of-first-life” assets from businesses across Canada and transfers them to a secure facility where they are refurbished and loaded with a fully licensed Microsoft operating system prior to resale, often to schools and institutions needing IT assets but faced with financial challenges.
The unique part of the model is that instead of paying the corporation for the assets, Green4Good donates the cash it would have paid to either the charity of choice of the business involved or one Green4Good supports on behalf of the corporation. To date, the program has supported more than 80 different charities.
“They’ve been a huge supporter,” says Canadian Centre for Abuse Awareness CEO Ellen Campbell. “In addition to providing computers to sell in our store, they have donated $50,000, which is a lot of money for us.”
However, Green4Good is about to take the benefits even further by implementing a protocol in partnership with Green Knight Environmental that will allow companies donating assets to obtain carbon credits as well, says Steve Glover, Compugen Finance’s senior vice-president. “Many well-known businesses and organizations are voluntarily purchasing carbon offsets to reduce their carbon footprint. These include Google, TD Bank, HSBC, News Corp, the Vatican, Nike, Vancity, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, and Ben & Jerry’s – to name just a few.
“The popularity of carbon offsets is only expected to grow as more and more people look for ways to reduce their climate impact. Obtaining carbon offsets gives individuals and businesses the responsibility for their own climate impact, and demonstrates leadership on climate change by going beyond existing government regulations or incentives.”
According to Green Knight president Brandon Holdsworth, Green4Good is precisely the kind of partner his company is looking for. “Green4Good fits all the categories that are important for environmental action,” he says. “They’re not looking for a magic bullet; they’re making use of today’s technologies to make a difference today, and it’s a voluntary program that benefits all parties involved. Additionally, by refurbishing IT assets, they are not so much extending the life of a product as giving it a new life altogether, precluding the need to create replacement products from scratch, a much more emissions-intensive exercise.” Mr. Holdsworth expects to have the first set of offsets verified and registered early in 2017.
“Previously we had a win-win situation, now we have a win-win-win situation,” says Mr. Glover. “In addition to providing a second life for their old IT assets and supporting charities, businesses will soon be able to reduce their carbon footprint by acquiring or, if they prefer, purchasing carbon credits from Green4Good.”
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