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Applause for IT Product Recycling
By Michael Schweibinz

The technology industry has and continues to evolve at an incredible rate. This fast-paced business environment has driven competition in various directions, one of which has been a shift toward more sustainable practices, including recycling.

The implementation of product-recycling programs has become a popular movement within the industry. So far, Apple and Dell have proved to be pioneers in developing and applying these programs, incentivizing customers to take action for the benefit of our natural environment.

In its new and improved product-recycling program, Apple offers free and environmentally friendly disposal of your iPod and any manufacturer’s mobile phone. In turn, customers receive an Apple gift card as long as their used device had monetary value. Customers can exchange valueless iPods for newer models and receive a 10% discount.

How has this program affected Apple, their customers, and the environment? While the savings have piled up, the waste has not. Apple has recycled more than 421 million pounds of electronic waste since 1994, according to Lisa Jackson, the Vice President for Environmental Initiatives for Apple. In doing so, Apple has broadened and strengthened their brand, customer loyalty, and public image—all while generating higher sales.

And Dell is no rookie in the race to go green either. The company’s long-term corporate responsibility agenda is well planned and provides precise targets. But Dell is going beyond its own internal sustainability and committing to work “with industry stakeholders, including suppliers, partners and competitors, to develop a method for more accurately assessing the ‘net positive’ impact of IT on society, including the ways IT customers use and benefit from increasingly environmentally sustainable and efficient IT.” You can read more about Dell’s corporate responsibility agenda here.

Both companies have successfully worked to reduce their negative externalities on the environment. In the process, they have turned recycling into a competitive business factor. Today, they both use their programs to provide for a better planet and higher profits.

At First Affirmative, we understand that the ways we save, spend, and invest can dramatically influence both the fabric and consciousness of society. We believe that in addition to the benefits of ownership, investors bear responsibility for the impact our money has in the world. Are you making conscious decisions about the impact of your consumer purchase and investment decisions?

Mention of specific companies or securities should not be considered an endorsement or a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.

Posted: May 5, 2014