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ESG and Electronic Data Destruction: It begins with Environment

ESG and Electronic Data Destruction: It begins with Environment

Posted in Blog

Glenn Laga

We are seeing and hearing environmental, social and governance (ESG) interest and action everywhere. At both the IAITAM Conference and ITAD Summit, presentations and booth chatter ranged from concern to curiosity about clients who were requesting ESG reports as part of their electronic data destruction due diligence. And using the responses (or lack of) to direct their business contracts. ESG is becoming a common component in the business relationship screening process along with diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and corporate social responsibility (CSR).

According to this comprehensive and very readable McKinsey report, “Across industries, geographies, and company sizes, organizations have been allocating more resources toward improving ESG. More than 90 percent of S&P 500 companies now publish ESG reports in some form.”

ESG is not new (and it’s here to stay)

Although it’s been seventeen years since the term was conceptually dropped by the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and there certainly are naysayers and critics, the reality is that large, global corporations (especially) want to work with businesses that treat the planet and their employees fairly. With an ESG statement or report, ITADs, data destruction vendors and recyclers can demonstrate integrity and compliance, brand value and value alignment.

“ESG belongs in the real world–with its advances, setbacks, messiness, difficult choices, and balancing acts. COVID, climate change, conflicts, and their many repercussions have shown that ESG is by no means perfect–but it is still the best way we have found to gauge the progress and impact of our corporate citizens.”

Sanda Ojiambo 
Assistant Secretary-geberal, Executive Director, CEO
UN Global Compact

ESG is part of our DNA

From Guardian Data Destruction’s inception in 2006, and long before Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) processes and initiatives were a hot trend, the ethical treatment of data, people and our planet was woven into the fabric of our organization. 

Our primary function is the protection of data. By delivering the highest level of service, security and compliance to our ITADs, VARS and their clients, we improve corporate ESG outcomes: reduced consumption, reduced eWaste, asset reuse and donation, extended IT product lifecycles through repair and, at end-of-life, the best in recycling and disposition best practices.

Guardian Data Destruction + the ESG E: Environmental

As a vendor that is often positioned at the terminus of the IT lifecycle, Guardian is committed to reducing our carbon footprint through recycling, reusing and zero-waste initiatives.

We work with our ITAD, VAR, MSP and reseller partners to prevent a generation of waste by designing custom programs, emphasizing smart, reuse strategies and selecting ethical partners to minimize unnecessary and negligent waste.

  • Our inbound cardboard boxes serve a secondary, useful life as a perforated packing material. Combined with recycled paper cushions, we’re eliminating bubble wrap – a plastic packing resource that is rarely recycled or reused.
  • With 23 service hubs covering North America for onsite data destruction, sustainable fleet management is integral to our service contracts. Fuel, travel distance, fuel consumption, idle time and the emissions of our fleet of mobile data destruction trucks are tracked and reported to improve efficiency routing resulting in reduced fuel consumption and vehicle wear and tear. Daily pre-trip maintenance checks (fuels, fluids, tires, tire pressure, general condition and lights) by each driver are required. All Guardian Class 2 trucks follow EPA regulations by using Diesel Exhaust Fluid (“DEF” liquid) to reduce nitrogen oxides emitted into the air.
  • Guardian has a strict and tracked “no idling policy” for parked trucks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
  • As a member of ASCDI (The Association of Service and Computer Dealers and the North American Association of Telecom Dealers), we promoted and supported the “Right to Repair” movement. The recently-passed Federal legislation will lead to longer product life and a reduced waste stream by cutting repair costs for older IT equipment.
  • The Guardian Self-pack and Ship Box program provides a responsible and trackable method for customer employees to return all company-issued IT equipment. The systematic, highly flexible program, keeps reusable IT assets out of landfills and prevents the risk of unauthorized users or a data breach.
  • We believe in second lives and creative expression. Guardian resident artists have created 3D sculptures and 2D media artwork using cables, hard drives, monitor stands and more “scrap” pulled directly from our warehouse recycling-bound bins.
  • For our partners and their customers, we offer a no-cost Earth Day “Shred Fest” open to their customers, employees and families. This earth-friendly event ensures (1) data security by shredding hard drives and (2) ethical recycling of the shred and IT hardware (laptops, desktops, monitors, printers, etc.) that are dropped off. These shred events promote green earth initiatives, prevent the risk of data-driven criminal activities and offer high community value. 

With environmental initiatives enmeshed in all our processes, we see ESG as a framework to be better, do better and act better. Each Guardian division: Data Destruction, IT Packing & Logistics and Data Center and Enterprise Services, actively looks for new opportunities and custom solutions to improve customer goals, IT equipment reuse, recycling, IT asset redeployment, donation channels and community support.

As Guardians in name and nature, caring for our clients, staff, communities and the environment is a natural part of our day-to-day work practices and habits.

Our next blog dives into the social in ESG and Electronic Data Destruction. Or read our full ESG statement here. For any ESG questions or comments, please contact Guardian Data Destruction’s ESG Coordinator, Michelle Keegan.

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