To match its actions with its ambitions, CircleIT has made a point to meet and exceed the highest sustainability and data security standards that the Information Technology Asset Disposition (ITAD) industry has to offer. CircleIT’s voracious pursuit for constant improvement is epitomized by the R2 standard. The R2 standard is a collaborative partnership between the public, private, and nonprofit sectors that addresses the operational and environmental challenges in electronics recycling and repair. In 2020, SERI, the governing body for the R2 standard, released an updated version of the standard (R2v3), emphasizing more stringent electronics reuse and data protection practices. Alongside CircleIT’s industry-leading environmental, social, governance (ESG) work, the new R2 standard will push the ITAD industry to achieve outcomes that benefit public health, the planet, and ITAD customers.
Since its first standard in 2008, R2 has rapidly changed the ITAD and electronics recycling landscape. It was the first attempt at industry self-regulation, creating a framework for providers to identify themselves through a third-party audit related to data security, electronics reuse, recycling, employee safety, and environmental practices. The multi-stakeholder approach to creating and updating the R2 standard includes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and seeks to uphold a transparent, balanced, consensus-based process.
R2v3’s emphasis on electronics reuse and data protection aligns with CircleIT’s environmental, social, governance (ESG) program. Traditionally, ITAD providers feel pressure to choose the path of most immediate profitability, by reselling or recycling or actually disposing of devices. This approach creates a tremendous amount of waste. In fact, in the United States alone, over 100,000 laptops are disposed of daily, when 70 % of these laptops could be reused. CircleIT takes a different approach. We focus on reshaping the relationship between ITAD providers and corporate clients by prioritizing sustainability first. Under CirlceIT’s ESG program, corporations are now in favor of the social value associated with choosing to repurpose over resale or recycle. With corporations onboard to support more sustainable practices, CircleIT can access more electronics and put them in more hands that cannot afford new products. As ITAD providers look to meet the loftier requirements of R2v3, CircleIT is providing a model they can emulate.
ITAD providers that can follow CircleIT’s sustainability and data security leadership will raise the bar for the entire industry, incentivizing more consumers and corporations to rely on ITAD providers to dispose of their old, slow, and broken electronics. Also, CircleIT will have helped put the industry and broader economy on the path to a circular economy as electronics repurposing becomes industry standard.
R2v3 is great for the ITAD industry, but it is not the end goal for CircleIT. As a B Corporation, CircleIT finds numerous third-party verifications more important than the declaration of victories. That is why CircleIT is certified by a large swath of best practices and pledges. While CircleIT applauds ITAD providers that become R2v3 certified, it is continuously pushing the boundaries and setting the table for the next standard.