Circular economies differ from the traditional linear economic model in shifting to a cradle-to-cradle circular model that produces no waste. We can accomplish the goals of circular economies through several possible business models, including product sharing, products-as-services, repair and refurbishment, remanufacturing, by-products and industrial symbiosis, replacement of raw materials with renewable materials, and resource regeneration and recovery.
Acer employs the concept of circular economies and strives to reduce the impact of our products on the environment throughout their life cycles. Through sound design, we make products that are more effective and have longer useful lives while also supporting the reuse of resources in manufacturing. For example, plastic waste can be difficult to eliminate when electronic products reach end-of-life and the heavy metals contained in batteries and motherboards may lead to pollution when products are carelessly discarded. To reduce these impacts, we reuse plastics and recover metals in batteries for reuse in new products, as well as promote campaigns for electronics and battery recycling for the good of the environment.
Acer established the “Earth Project” to promote global reuse and recycling in 2018. Through recycling and reuse, we reduce resource exploitation, while at the same time, to protect privacy, the physical destruction of storage devices reduces the risk of data leakage. Net income received from recycling in Taiwan is used to support the Taipei Orphan Welfare Foundation, with the hope that more children who have lost their parents will be able to enjoy a good education. In this way, we support the sustainable development of society and the environment at the same time.
To reduce the exploitation of and dependence on raw materials and move toward a circular economy, this Taiwanese recycling activity works with professional recyclers. After the batteries have been sorted, lithium batteries undergo extraction and manufacturing to form raw materials for new products, reducing the exploitation of upstream raw materials. The remainder undergoes final processing in line with detailed specifications of technologically outstanding Taiwanese processors to prevent waste from flowing to third world countries and harming their land or people.
In 2019, nearly 50 Acer service centers around Taiwan expanded their collection of recycled items to all types of consumer electronics, including batteries, cellphones, tablets, notebooks, displays, desktops, chargers, CDs, keyboards, mice, and CD players. We also joined with many supply chain partners, including Compal Computer, Phison Electronics, and Seagate Technology, to encourage staff to recycle unused electronic products they may have at home. In addition, through summer activities, consumers are encouraged to participate in computer health check and recycling activities. Participants can exchange electronics for environmentally friendly gifts such as “friendly farming” Caitian Rice, unpackaged store coupons, or energy-efficient electronics. In addition, we also plan open days for the young children of Acer employees to take advantage of environmental education through "Future Monster" stories to help them cultivate good recycling habits.
In May 2019, Acer was also invited to participate in a “global dialog” held at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) International Environmental Technology Centre (IETC) in Osaka, Japan. We attended as an observer, engaging with other participants in a global conversation on the event’s theme, “Technology Solutions for Holistic Waste Management.” This event provided expert advice for the G20 ministerial meeting and summit held in June. Participants in the global talks included CEOs, business representatives, government decision-makers, and representatives of society and academia. In addition, partners from the European Commission, Basel Convention Secretariat, and International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) World Congress also attended. All participants are committed to implementing the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to working together for an environmentally sustainable future.
We carefully consider environmental factors in every stage of the product life cycle. This includes selecting materials during design, through packaging and shipping, to usage and recycling. We hope to work with consumers to reduce environmental impact.
Our green product policy states:
We provide outstanding products that are low in toxins, low pollution, energy-efficient, resource-efficient, and easy to recycle.
We work with our suppliers to go above and beyond global environmental standards and establish a green supply chain.
To make a product sustainable, we must examine its impact on the environment and performance at various stages of development, using this as a basis for enhancing the sustainability of future products. As well as emphasizing product life cycle thinking in our green product policy, Acer has also since 2018 introduced a life cycle assessment analysis into the development of hardware products across product lines in line with the revised ISO 14001 system. Through this, we gain an insight into the environmental impact of these products. Since 2019, we have also enacted quantitative life cycle assessment for indicator products. The first product for which this was completed was the Desktop PC VX4660G (or Veriton X4660G). In cooperation with the Industrial Technology Research Institute, we carried out a full cradle-to-grave life cycle inventory and analysis of this product in line with ISO 14040:2006 and ISO 14044:2006 standards. Through the DoITPro database (v2019.0003), we undertook second-level data conversion, finding the following main overall environmental impacts: carbon emissions of 461.3 kgCO2e; 0.39 m3 equivalent of water; and mineral, metal, and fossil resource consumption of 0.0131 kg antimony (Sb) equivalent.
The following table shows the detailed quantitative emission/consumption data of each stage of the product's life cycle. We further find that the raw material acquisition stage has the most significant impact on resource consumption, and the usage stage produces the most carbon emissions, followed by the raw material stage. This is similar to the results obtained in our past product carbon footprint projects.
Use post-consumer recycled plastics
Material reduction in design Use environmentally friendly materials
Refine product transportation efficiency
Repair and Refurbish Leasing and shared economy Energy saving
Recycle PC and batteries
In addition, completed life cycle assessment, including carbon footprint, is also verified by third-party assurance to ensure the accuracy and reliability of both the process and the data, providing an important reference for subsequent improvements to product environmental impact.