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Down to Earth – Earth Day 2024


It used to be that Earth Day stood out in a year where little attention was otherwise paid to environmental concerns. In 1970, 54 years ago, in the wake of the publication of Rachel Carson’s bestseller Silent Spring, two noteworthy events occurred:

  • The Creation of Earth Day on April 22nd
  • The Establishment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

More than a half-century later, the environment continues to be front and center for many of us every day of the year.

Today, as the world grapples with climate change, there are positive signs that action is being taken in the private sector. Corporations, large and small, are taking definitive actions to reduce the amount of carbon and other persistent gases being released into our atmosphere.  The primary greenhouse gases being water vapor (H2O) carbon dioxide (C02) methane (CH4) nitrous oxide (N20) and ozone (O3). And now, more and more individuals are even choosing to drive electric vehicles and use renewable energy for their homes.

Interestingly, the focus placed on environmental accountability has led to scrutiny into ethical behaviors on the part of industry throughout the world. It’s no coincidence that some of the most vulnerable areas, from an environmental perspective, are also some of the most vulnerable areas from a labor protection perspective. Lack of environmental protections often go hand in hand with a lack of worker protections. This is most evident in developing countries with lax labor laws.

And the world is paying attention. The call for accountability is being sounded around the globe. Governments are rallying and shareholders are clamoring for concrete action on climate, on labor protection, on diversity and equity. And in recognition that businesses that aren’t attuned are at greater risk, financial analysts are finding ways to quantify both action and inaction. For example, the “S&P 500 Carbon Efficient Index was designed to measure the performance of companies in the S&P 500, while overweighting or underweighting those companies that have lower or higher levels of carbon emissions per unit of revenue.”

In 1970, the alarm was sounded primarily to address environmental risks. Today, we use the word “sustainability” to include not only the environment (planet), but also people and economic well-being. For more than 25 years, The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has been providing an ever-expanding framework to measure and report on a huge spectrum of topics “that range from biodiversity to tax, waste to emissions, diversity and equality to health and safety.”

For more than 20 years, illumynt has been finding environmentally sound outcomes for unwanted electronics. As the years tick by, the demand for ever-more sustainable practices leaves us leading the field with astonishingly high re-use rates and state-of-the-art reporting tools. Re-use is critical in leveraging the energy and materials used in any given device, and in the case of laptops, for example, as much as 80% of the energy footprint in the entire lifecycle is attributable to its original manufacture. In the rare instances where equipment cannot be reused, our R2-certified partners reclaim valuable materials for use in new manufacture.

Technology manufacturers are also doing their part to enable the sustainable reuse of equipment by supporting software updates longer and transforming manufacturing practices to allow for easier repair of devices. Additionally, Tech giants Lenovo, Dell and HP have also committed to incorporating recycled plastics into their products.

As illumynt continues its sustainability journey, we’re using the GRI to help guide and inform our initiatives. As we celebrate this Earth Day, we’re also celebrating that “We are Accountable”. You’ve likely heard the expression, “Make every day Earth Day.” We think setting sustainability goals and holding ourselves accountable goes a long way toward that vision. We hope you’ll join us.

Be sure to read my continuing blog series as I discuss all things related to sustainable electronics.


Carol Baroudi has been focused on sustainable electronics for more than 15 years and is recognized for her prominent work as lead author for Green IT for Dummies. Carol is a contributing guest blogger for illumynt and consulting to support new sustainability initiatives.

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