Earlier this year we shared the great news that we started a cooperation with Inrego, a company that has worked with reused IT and circular economy for 25 years. But how did it start, when sustainability and product lifecycle was not top-of-mind for people in general and how does a retailer take the next step to think sustainably?
Sebastian Holmström, who works as Sustainability Manager at Inrego, tells us that, of course, sustainability has always been a common thread in Inrego's operations, but that initially it was very much focused on social sustainability. They wanted more people to be able to afford electronics.
It started with the thought that not everyone needs the newest product or latest technology, but just a simple computer at an affordable price. To think differently and be resource efficient, that is the basis of Inrego's entire business concept, says Sebastian.
From shameful to modern
Changing a behaviour is perhaps one of the most difficult things there is, but that is exactly what they have been forced to work with at Inrego. In the past, it was associated with shame to buy a computer someone else had used, you only did that if you couldn't afford a new one. Today we know better, and reuse is becoming the new normal. As a company today, it can be brand strengthening.
Today, many companies want to share that they don't just buy new IT equipment, it's part of their employer branding," says Sebastian.
From product in focus to need in focus
In order to move forward in the reuse of IT, we must start thinking based on needs instead of products. What does the customer/user need? Does it require the latest technology and most advanced version of computer or can an updated older version work? Maybe one employee must have a new product, but another can take a used one. It doesn't have to be all new or nothing new.
There are a couple of issues that are primary to the circular economy:
- What do you buy? - This is exactly where the need comes in.
- How long do you use the product? - Quality can be more profitable in the long run.
- What do you do with it after? - Can it be reused and if not, how do you recycle it?
Gabriella Beutelrock, who works as Key Account Manager at Inrego, advises retailers that wants to be relevant to its customer and contribute to increased sustainability, that a first step can be to simply include recycled products in the offer. But also, to think about reuse already at the time of purchase.
"Help your customer to plan for reuse already at the time of purchase by selling cover and protection for the device, in order to extend the product lifecycle in this way. Tell the customer how to best handle and charge the device to last as long as possible. Finally, help the customer plan for how the device will be handled when it runs out, provide the option to return it. In this way, you also have a chance to strengthen your relationship with the customer and help it act sustainably," says Gabriella.
Find out more about Inrego.