At Ageas we put sustainability at the heart of everything we do, and that goes for the whole value chain: from the investments we make, the products and services we offer, to the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) infrastructure that supports our operations. In this context, Ageas concluded a group-wide partnership with “Close The Gap”, a social enterprise that aims to bridge the digital gap, with the ambition to make sure that access to a computer & education becomes a reality for everyone. Through this collaboration Ageas ensures that its ICT equipment has a positive impact beyond our company and embeds a more sustainable ICT practice.
Smart ICT use to lower CO2 footprint
Measurements* of the CO2 impact of our own operations reveal that Ageas’s ICT-related CO2 emissions account for 12% of our total emissions or nearly as much as the emissions generated by our energy consumption that stands at 13%!
Given the urgency around sustainability and our commitment to it, the heads of ICT departments of most of the Ageas entities decided to set up an ‘ESG in ICT Community’ to jointly work on reusable assets and develop best practices across all dimensions of ESG (Environmental – Social – Governance) related to ICT.
We deployed an awareness campaign on the impact of Digital across the Group, and shared recommendations to improve our digital behaviour with the ambition to reduce our CO2 footprint.
Manufacturing of ICT equipment has a bigger impact than its use
In that context we looked into the full ICT hardware lifecycle, from initial buying to final decommissioning and from there set the following principles:
Buy responsibly: we include sustainability criteria when deciding which hardware solution to buy through Eco-labels and the EcoVadis questionnaire (for European entities).
Extend the use as long as operationally possible: category by category we determine how long our ICT equipment must ideally be used before replacing it.
Make sure decommissioned ITC equipment is still valuable elsewhere or in another form: Once the equipment no longer serves a purpose for the company, we look for recycling opportunities by re-using parts or by participating in social projects, to avoid the equipment ending up in landfill. And what cannot be reused, is ultimately recycled for reuse of the materials.
Ageas contributes to closing the ICT gap
To extend the lifetime of our ICT equipment even further, Ageas signed a groupwide partnership with “Close The Gap”, from which already 8 of our entities are benefiting .
This partnership will help us to ensure that our ICT equipment is properly treated after being used by the company, giving it a second life or a proper recycling process. To achieve this, “Close The Gap” has set up local entities worldwide to collect written-off / unused ICT material from companies and institutions. And going one step further… it also recovers the material after the second usage. Finally, through its ISO certified refurbishing process, it selects the qualitative computers for re-use in social and educational projects.
Bénédicte Benoit, Group Digital Solution Manager: “As studies have shown, around 80% of the pollution generated by user-related ICT equipment happens in manufacturing. Making use of any ICT equipment as long as possible is of utmost importance. In that sense, partnering with Close The Gap is a key achievement, enabling us to give a 2nd and extended life to our ICT equipment and thus reducing the need for newly manufactured products in the market.”
Didier Appels, co-founder and Managing Director Close the Gap: “By working towards making ICT assets 100% circular, we aim to bridge the digital divide and provide equal access to information & communication technology so that regardless of your location & your background, you can reach your full potential & create a prosperous sustainable future for yourself & those around you.”
*More details can be found in the Ageas Annual Report.