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The Drive for Sustainable IT Packaging 


We all know that natural resources are not infinite, and most people (and companies) would like to buy IT goods that are guilt-free. This is challenging if a product’s packaging goes way beyond what is necessary to protect the product within. Excessive plastic packaging especially contributes significantly to unrecyclable waste. 

Packaging of course performs a vital function to ensure the product reaches the buyer in perfect condition and must communicate essential information. However, the IT industry could certainly do more to address both over-packaging and non-recyclable packaging. 

Take printer cartridges for example.  

The ink is housed in a plastic container which is often packaged inside a rigid plastic container. The plastic wrapping and the plastic ink casing are often not recyclable. Then this ink cartridge package is sent to the client by the reseller. The reseller adds yet more packaging, usually bubble wrap or foam chips (both options are often not recyclable) and then puts this in another box (often disproportionally large in volume size) for dispatch. Clearly this is not helpful to the environment. 

The Team's Phase 1 goal for the next 6 – 12 months is to develop (and/or adopt if it exists!) a general supplier packaging specification covering common categories of IT purchasing and prioritise a minimum and aspirational set of requirements (example: X % recycled content, optimised packaging size, soy-based/no-chemical inks for labeling, FSC-certified, etc.) for all packaging material types. 

We aim to further refine the scope of this specification to be applicable to all stages of the supply/value chain (e.g., resellers, distributors, and manufacturers) - recognising that this extended scope may help buyers in IT procurement to encourage implementation of more environmentally friendly packaging by both Tier 1 suppliers (e.g., IT distributors & resellers) and, in some cases, IT manufacturers. 

Markit is taking a stand on IT device and accessory packaging and is working as part of the Packaging Action Team of the Sustainable Procurement Leadership Council.

We are playing an active role in contributing IT industry related research and opinions. 

Our participation in the international SPLC Packaging Action Team complements Markit’s wider role as an Active Participant of the United Nation Global Compact to take action on relevant sustainable IT procurement related issues.  

These initiatives are driven by Markit CEO, Andres Agasild, who will also be participating in the UN Global Compact Leaders’ Summit in June.