How Umicore integrates sustainability into IT

Stories

Umicore is a leading circular materials technology company with over 11,000 employees worldwide. Information Technology (IT) is an important enabler for our business today and even more so as we grow. We see it as our mission to be an industry leader in sustainability, aiming to minimize the negative impact of our operations while maximizing our positive impact on society at large. 

CTG ‘DigiTruck’ - Tanzania Tuleeni Orphanage

Being a Sustainability Champion means we embed sustainability in our products and services and how we do business, this includes how we manage IT within Umicore. Umicore has long been involved in various sustainable IT initiatives and continues to expand these efforts going forward. Accordingly, Umicore has started to formally set out with a Sustainable IT program, focusing on energy management, reducing our environmental impact, cyber security, digital inclusion and sustainable sourcing of IT services and hardware. 

Sustainable IT is about reducing our environmental footprint by rethinking IT services – something everyone can contribute to. It is also about being creative, process minded and future looking at how IT & Digital can contribute to a more sustainable world, be it in the supply chain, production, administration and more. I strongly believe high impact of Sustainable IT will also be in the playfield of solutions, where sustainability is a key driver.

Joris Peeters, SVP Information Systems

Close the Gap – bridging the digital divide

With circularity at the heart of our business, back in 2013  Umicore partnered with Close the Gap (CTG). CTG is an international social enterprise that aims to bridge the digital divide by offering high-quality, pre-owned IT devices donated by European companies to educational, medical and social projects in developing and emerging countries. Today, Close the Gap has supported over 7 600 projects in more than 50 countries (mainly in Africa), reaching close to 4 million people. 

"We have only just begun. Think about all the devices being used worldwide today; there is so much more to be done." - Didier Appels, Impact & Business Director, Close the Gap

CTG takes used electronic equipment, wipes all the data, and reuses, repairs, refurbishes, or recycles it in an environmentally sound way. Each recycled device, including a desktop, screen, keyboard and mouse, prevents 20kg of waste from ending in landfills.

Donating and extending the life of more than 10,000 Umicore electronic devices effectively avoided 4000 tons of CO2 from being emitted since 2013. This is equivalent to taking 857 cars off the road for one year!

Close the gap aligns with our Let’s Go for Zero ESG strategy, with both our environmental and social ambitions and creating positive impact. We look forward to our continued partnership with Close the Gap.


Diversity & Inclusion in our Information Systems team

Autimatic is an external partner that offers job opportunities to people with autism. Umicore onboarded two Autimatic colleagues in the Information Systems team in 2022. Read more on our story Diversity leads to great results.

"We regularly see that people on the spectrum are very welcome and valuable in different teams as they often help to solve certain bottlenecks and like to do tasks that others for instance dislike. They often perform better on repetitive tasks that require a lot of sustained focus and accuracy. Our employees feel welcome and value being part of the teams of both companies which leads to higher retention." - Geert Pauwels, CEO & Founder, Autimatic

Member of ISIT – exchanging experiences and ideas through networking

In 2022, Umicore became a member of ISIT, the Belgian Institute for Sustainable IT. ISIT is a non-profit “think and do” tank founded in 2020, which brings together companies, organizations and individuals to exchange knowledge and best practices around reducing environmental and societal footprint through sustainable information technologies.

Through this membership, we aim to:

  • Gather and exchange ideas about Sustainable IT
  • Exchange best practices and existing initiatives within Umicore and with major suppliers
  • Raise awareness about becoming a sustainability champion within Umicore IT in collaboration with our business activities and all departments 
  • Build knowledge and expertise by engaging experts in focused discussions about Sustainable IT 

Signatory of the Sustainable IT Charter – setting the tone for our Sustainable IT strategy

The Sustainable IT Charter is a voluntary commitment that allows organizations to be part of a continuous improvement process in Sustainable IT. In November 2022, Umicore signed the Sustainable IT Charter, affirming our commitment to resolutely enter into a Sustainable IT approach for our organization, meaning the following five significant commitments: 

  • We are committed to optimizing digital tools to limit their impact on consumption
  • We are committed to developing digital services that are accessible to all, inclusive and sustainable
  • We are committed to ethical and Sustainable IT practices
  • We are committed to Sustainable IT, which is essential to ensure the resilience of organizations
  • We are committed to fostering the emergence of new behaviors and values

 
This charter lays the base for integrating sustainability into our IT strategy at Umicore. Umicore is looking forward to embarking on this journey as we strive to be a true Sustainability Champion.