World's Largest PC Vendor is Eco Friendly
By: Jessica Oaks
Consumers rarely associate technology and electronics with eco-friendliness, but Lenovo is fast making strides to change this perception. As the largest vendor of PCs in the world, Lenovo is also an international leader in the movement towards green technology.
In addition to making some of the most popular and best laptops available to consumers, Lenovo has also been vocal in its commitment to environmental leadership and responsibility. Regarding its industry-leading environmental policy, the company states:
Lenovo recognizes that climate change is a serious threat and believes that we should all do our part to reduce harmful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Lenovo acknowledges and accepts the findings of current climate science which indicate a human contribution to climate change. We support the consensus conclusions of the scientific community described in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.1 The company accepts the call to action which arises from these conclusions.
In 2011, Lenovo earned the distinction of producing the first laptop computer to receive the highest available rating in the UL Environment’s Sustainable Product Certification (SPC). The computer responsible for the impeccable rating is the ThinkPad T 420, which has multiple components made from post-consumer recycled content (PCC) and exceeds Energy Star 5.0 requirements by an impressive 10 percent. Energy Star is a voluntary program run jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy and dedicated to helping consumers and businesses conserve energy and protect the environment through technological innovations.
Lenovo is focused on more than just producing the best laptops and new computers that are environmentally responsible. In 2008, the company became a member of The Climate Group and also introduced a program to help consumers dispose of used electronics in a green way. The Lenovo recycling program, a joint venture with ECO International, now provides free recycling for Lenovo and IBM products and covers the cost of shipping. Some consumers whose devices have retained some residual value could even be compensated with pre-paid VISA gift cards.
How is Lenovo working to create a greener electronics market? The Chinese company constantly strives to include increasing amounts of recycled components in its products, and deliver these products with smaller, 100% recycled packaging and EPA-certified low-carbon shipping methods. It also employs numerous corporate practices such as the use of renewable energy in company operations, the promotion of telecommuting and ride sharing, a robust in-house recycling program, and constant employee education about the latest environmental best practices.
While Lenovo has earned recent recognition for its environmental leadership, the company didn’t always have such a green record. In fact, in 2009 Greenpeace publicly criticized the company for its failure to follow through on its commitment to eliminate the use of PVC and brominated flame retardants (BFR) from its product line. The outrage of the environmental community was so strong that Greenpeace activists went to the company’s manufacturing plant in China to return what they termed “toxic laptops.” Though Lenovo was defensive in response to this very public criticism, claiming that it did meet international environmental regulations and that the Greenpeace ranking of their environmental record was inaccurate, the company took prompt steps improve its policies and quickly rose in Greenpeace’s environmental technology rankings over the next years.
Lenovo’s hard work paid off, and the company is now an industry leader in the production of environmentally-responsible technology products. According to UL Environment president Steve Wenc in an article published online by Environmental Leader, “Companies like Lenovo that choose third party certification to environmental standards are not only encouraging customer peace of mind, but they are raising the sustainability bar for their industry peers.”
The international demand for communication and computing is growing at an incredibly rapid rate, and power consumption and environmental sustainability need to be a top priority for the companies that are depended on for technology. Though the initial investment in green technology may be high for these companies, the long-term benefits to society are indisputable. With its responsible policies and clear and very public commitment to fighting climate change, Lenovo is helping to raise the standard when it comes to producing computers that environmentally-savvy consumers can be proud to invest in.
Author Bio: Jessica is a freelance journalist who loves to cover technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier. She also blogs at FreshlyTechy.com. Check her out on Twitter @TechyJessy.
Marketing matters: from IBM to Kyndryl
Prior to joining Kyndryl as Chief Marketing Officer, Maria had a 25-year career at IBM, most recently as the tech giant’s CMO where she oversaw all marketing professionals and activities across North America, Canada and Latin America. She has held senior global marketing positions in a variety of disciplines and business units across IBM, most notably strategic initiatives in Smarter Cities and Watson Customer Engagement, as well as leading teams in services, business analytics, and mobile and industry solutions. She is known for her work with teams to leverage data, analytics and cloud technologies to build deeper engagements with customers and partners.
With a passion for marketing, business and people, and a recognized expert in data-driven marketing and brand engagement, Maria talks to Business Chief about her new role, her leadership style and what success means to her.
You've recently moved from IBM to Kyndryl, joining as CMO. Tell us about this exciting new role?
I’m Chief Marketing Officer for Kyndryl, the independent company that will be created following the separation from IBM of its Managed Infrastructure Services business, expected to occur by the end of 2021. My role is to plan, develop, and execute Kyndryl's marketing and advertising initiatives. This includes building a company culture and brand identity on which we base our marketing and advertising strategy.
We have an amazing opportunity ahead at Kyndryl to create a company brand that will stand apart in the market by leading with our people first. Once we are an independent company, each Kyndryl employee will advance the vital systems that power human progress. Our people are devoted, restless, empathetic, and anticipatory – key qualities needed as we build on existing customer relationships and cultivate new ones. Our people are at the heart of this business and I am deeply hopeful and excited for our future.
What experiences have helped prepare you for this new opportunity?
I’ve had a very rich and diverse career history at IBM that has lasted 25+ years. I started out in sales but landed explored opportunities at IBM in different roles, business units, geographies, and functions. Marketing and business are my passions and I landed on Marketing because it allowed me to utilize both my left and right brain, bringing together art and science. In college, I was no tonly a business major, but an art major. I love marketing because I can leverage my extensive knowledge of business, while also being able to think openly and creatively.
The opportunities I was given during my time at IBM and my natural curiosity have led me to the path I’m on now and there’s no better next career step than a once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity to help launch a company. The core of my role at Kyndryl is to create a culture centered on our people and growing up in my career at IBM has allowed me to see first-hand how to prioritize people and ensure they are at the heart of progress in everything Kyndryl will do.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I believe that people aren't your greatest assets, they are your only assets. My platform and background for leadership has always been grounded in authenticity to who I am and centered on diversity and inclusion. I immigrated to the US from Chile when I was 10 years old and so I know the power and beauty that comes from leaning into what makes you different from other people, and that's what I want every person in my marketing organization to feel – the value in bringing their most authentic self to work every day. The way our employees feel when they show up for themselves authentically is how they will also show up for our customers, and strong relationships drive growth.
I think this is especially true in light of a world forever changed by the pandemic. Living through such an unprecedented time has reinforced that we are all humans. We can't lead or care for one another without empathy and I think leaders everywhere have been reminded of this.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
When I was growing up as an immigrant in North Carolina, I often wanted to be just like everyone else. But my mother always told me: Be unique, be memorable – you have an authentic view and experience of the world that no one else will ever have, so don't try to be anyone else but you.
What does success look like to you?
I think the concept of success is multi-faceted. From a career perspective, being in a job where you're respected and appreciated, and where you can see how your contributions are providing value by motivating your teams to be better – that's success! From a personal perspective, there is no greater accomplishment than investing in the next generation. I love mentoring younger professionals – they are the future. I want my legacy as a leader to include providing value in work culture, but also in leaving a personal impact on the lives of professionals who will carry the workforce forward. Finding a position in life with a job and company that offers me a chance at all of that is what success looks like to me.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
I've always been a naturally curious person and it's easy for me to over-commit to projects that pique my interest. I've learned over years of practice how to manage that, so to my younger self I’d say… prioritize the things that are most important, and then become amazing at those things.