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Saving the world, one laptop at a time

Sustainability strategy drives investment and innovation in design, packaging and software
Saving the world one laptop at a time

This article first appeared in our Sustainable IT special issue of of My Green Pod Magazine, distributed with The Guardian on 05 November 2021. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

Earlier this year Acer announced that it had joined the RE100 initiative, pledging to use 100% renewable energy by 2035.

The Acer Group, including its global operations and subsidiaries, has already achieved its 2020 target of reducing its global carbon emissions by 60%.

Acer decided to take its environmental commitments further by establishing Earthion (blending ‘Earth’ with ‘mission’), a platform to tackle environmental challenges that combines the strengths of the company, its supply chain partners, consumers and employees.

The platform covers the use of renewable energy, recycling, product and packaging design and production and logistics.

Recycled and reimagined

In 2020 all Acer notebooks switched to recycled paper for packaging, saving 8,750kg of paper pulp and 20 million plastic bags. In addition, over 50 metric tonnes of batteries were recycled and remanufactured.

To mark what Acer calls the beginning of ‘a reimagination of computer manufacturing’, the Aspire Vero uses post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic throughout the device’s chassis and keyboard caps.

It ships in a box made from 80-85% recycled paper pulp, replaces the plastic bags for adapter protection with paper sleeves and uses 100% industrial recycled plastic for the laptop bag and the sheet between the keyboard and screen.

To further reduce environmental impact, all graphics on the shipping boxes are printed with soy ink, with no paint on the notebook chassis itself.

The Aspire Vero is constructed with easily accessible, standardised screws for a simpler disassembly process, and the text on the R and E keys is inverted, highlighting ‘the three Rs’: reduce, reuse and recycle.

The Acer ConceptD, launched in 2019 and designed for visual creatives, has won two international Red Dot design awards, including one for its eco-friendly packaging in the Sustainable Packaging category. Most components now use shared packaging, and all LDPE foam packaging was removed without compromising protection.

Plastic bags and film covers were eliminated wherever possible and soy ink printing has been used to remove pollution during future reclamation.Overall, the packaging is nearly free from virgin plastic, 100% recyclable and made from 90% recycled pulp.

The Acer Chromebook Spin 513 LTE is designed around performance and mobility; it has an excellent battery life, meaning it can easily support new hybrid work styles and match the highest priority selection criteria.

Device emissions

End-user computing is a significant contributor to environmental pollution and climate change, causing 1% of global emissions. Up to 50% of this is down to use rather than manufacture and disposal.

Acer worked with Px3 to provide an independent benchmark of the Acer Spin 513 LTE. According to the study, the device would reduce emissions from a typical estate (mixed desktops and laptops) by around 70%, with savings of 84% possible compared with legacy Windows desktop PCs.

For a typical 500-user organisation, the annual saving was calculated to be equivalent to reducing travel by 9,460 UK car miles, or having an additional 3.2 acres of mature forest. Even benchmarking the SPIN 513 LTE against comparable market-leading notebooks, energy (and therefore emissions) savings of up to 50% were recorded.

Sustainability in the UK

Acer is running a survey to calculate the carbon emissions of every UK employee, and will create a carbon-reduction plan that includes installing electric vehicle charging points in all UK offices.

Acer UK will work with a certified UK body to offset the remaining emissions to make employee travel carbon neutral.

A tree is planted for each device sent out as a PR or marketing sample for review, and all postage bags have been switched to more sustainable materials that are easier to recycle.

Personalised impact reports

This September, Acer launched Acer Green Rewards, an online portal that allows Acer’s channel partners to easily demonstrate to customers not only the financial aspects of digital transformation, but also the likely impact on the environment – a factor that more and more businesses rightly demand.

Uniquely, the portal enables resellers to deliver new product quotes, provide recycle trade-in values and present added-value offers available on Acer product lines. It also gives customers a customised sustainability impact overview report delivered by the Px3 sustainability application, all delivered within a few minutes on a single platform.

Embracing new work patterns

Recognising the fundamental workplace shift to mobile-led hybrid working patterns, Acer is enabling customers to embrace this transition and also evaluate the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.

By combining instant quotes, trade-in values and sustainability data, Acer is demonstrating the value the company can offer to partners and customers, positioning itself as an innovator in both products and programmes.

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