The Unsuitablog

Exposing Ethical Hypocrites Everywhere!

IBM Financing Greenwash: 2 PCs Better Than 1?

Posted by keith on September 23rd, 2010

This gem of a corporate sales pitch was sent to me by an Unsuitablog reader, which somehow turns replacing a computer twice as often as normal into a green decision. The main problem with corporate attempts to be green is that they come from corporations, and corporations exist to make profit for shareholders, so therefore can never be green: that comes across vibrantly in the document, which manages to combine bring profitable with being green so elegantly that it takes a second read before you realise that the sales pitch is not green at all. The only combination of elements is (1) saving money for the customer and (2) making sure the customer doesn’t get their arse kicked by the authorities.

Parting with your old PCs is fraught with peril. Choose the wrong disposal process and you may be criticised as an ‘enemy of the environment’. Not so great on the conscience, nor good for your company’s public relations. According to research from IDC, Gartner and the National SafetyC ouncil, there will be some one billion computers dumped around the worldwithin the next two years. And when you realise that a single computermonitor may contain up to eight pounds of lead, you begin to see the need for responsible disposal methods.

Imagine being able to improve your bottom line, while your company plays its part as a responsible corporate citizen to mitigate this looming pollution problem.

Don’t worry about disposing of your retired PCs

The proper disposal of retired PCs has become a critical business and environmental issue, yet many companies are completely unprepared in this area.Why is that? PC ownership is the usual culprit. Companies that purchase their PCs are solely responsible for deciding what to do with them when obsolescent. But confused by complex procedures, countless environmental laws, data security protocols and cost concerns, many companies choose to simplystore their old PCs away in unused rooms and ignore them.There is a better way.

Read that again.

Notice the phrases “enemy of the environment”, “nor good for your company’s public relations” and “countless environmental laws”. Damn those impediments to making shitloads of money!

The next page is a beauty:

PC Lifecycle Management from IBM Global Financing puts your disposal dilemmas to rest, and puts you on the path to a greener future. Regardless of brand, IBM handles every phase of the PC lifecycle – from planning to disposal – in compliance with applicable environmental laws, while also providing you with maximum financial return on your retired equipment.

A recent IDC report concludes that a well-managed 3-year PC lifecycle reduces cost by 20.5% annually compared with a 6-year deployment,and that many companies use leasing to enable their 3-year lifecycle strategy.

Now we’re getting to the real crux of the sales pitch: it’s not really about being “green” at all – it’s about tying the customer into a leasing agreement, and ensuring that the hardware turnover rate doubles, thus making IBM twice as much money out of “disposal dilemmas”. Twice as many computers; twice as much heavy metal; twice as much slave labour; twice as much manufacturing energy – all in a lovely “green” package.

Apart from the corporate green-speak, they have completely failed to localise the document. The address on the file shows it was sent in the UK where the WEEE Directive applies – rather than being “confused by complex procedures, countless environmental laws” any company will already know what to do with their machines (i.e. send them to a secure wiping and resell company) which makes this IBM document not only greenwash but also guilty of trying to make the issue seem far more confusing than it actually is, in order to sell their services…and their PCs.

One Response to “IBM Financing Greenwash: 2 PCs Better Than 1?”

  1. B Says:

    There have been a flurry of articles over the last year indicating a decline in PC sales to consumers. Here’s one:

    The manufacturers have come against a bug in the built-in-obsolescence treadmill. Most home users do not need any extra power to run typical applications like web-browsers, word-processors, and video playback. The average life-span of a PC is now 6 years. The manufacturers project a life of 2-5 years. Apple, in particular, has attempted to make obsolescence mandatory by producing software (I-tunes anyone?) that require upgrade of the OS and which may require replacement of the entire machine. Microsoft would probably try a similar thing with Windows 7 but is in a more difficult position due to Windows XP, which technicians have told me was made “too good” and provides a stable platform to run modern software nearly a decade after its introduction. I use a ten year old machine (Windows XP) and have no trouble at all with exception of some of the new video codecs (MP4 in particular is very processor-intensive).

    In response to declines in sales manufacturers have cut the price (and quality) of new laptops in particular.
    “Consumer PC demand is back, but at what price?”

    From an industry perspective IBM’s push for 3-year leasing is a way to ensure that those pesky older PC’s get dropped in the bin faster than necessary, thereby keeping the treadmill moving right along.

    Now, just so you understand I’m not trying to apologize for the industry I’ll just say that ALL computers are toxic and also unnecessary for communication within resilient communities. I will give up my use of these machines as I am able to replace the use of email with something more intimate and personally connected. I appreciate the far-flung communications that this tech has enabled while understanding that I carry a debt to the Earth community as a result of this use.

    May I live long enough to repay that debt by aiding the collapse of industrial civilization.

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