WALTHAM, Mass. - April 04, 2012 -
EMC Corporation, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and InnoCentive, the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, today announced a new Eco-Challenge, seeking solutions for tracking shipments of used electronic components and subsystems, in order to make sure they are being disposed of responsibly. Safe, legal and transparent e-waste disposal has been an ongoing concern for both industry and environmental groups, which want to make sure heavy metals and chemicals are not released as part of the recycling process.
David Goulden, EMC Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, said, "The long-term success of our company depends upon our ability to collaborate with others in our industry in the pursuit of a cleaner and more sustainable world. The proper handling of obsolete equipment is not only significant for human health and a cleaner environment, but it also protects data privacy and is simply an economically sound practice. With the unrelenting growth of data driving IT demand, it is incumbent upon the entire industry to continue to pursue ways to minimize the production and undesirable effects of e-waste."
The Eco-Challenge, which will be open from March 29through April 30, 2012, and is open to the public, seeks ideas for a scalable system that will allow manufacturers to follow e-waste to its final destination, ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. EMC plans to share the winning idea industry-wide to help accelerate the adoption of more environmentally sustainable and innovative e-waste practices.
"Addressing the environmental problems we face as a society, at the scale and speed required, is going to take unprecedented levels of innovation," said Beth Trask, who leads the Eco-Challenge Series for EDF. "Crowdsourcing is a promising new tool for companies to find innovative solutions, faster and less expensively."
While more and more companies are recycling electronic components and subsystems, it can be very difficult to make sure they are being handled properly, or even know for certain where these components end up. The Challenge builds on EMC's ongoing product take-back initiatives, and is part of the company's global sustainability program.
"EMC's customers expect environmentally responsible handling of the company's products when they reach the end of their planned use," said Goulden. To meet this expectation, the company incorporates end-of-use considerations into the initial design process and implements a rigorous program to dispose of its products responsibly when their useful service life has ended.
The Challenge is part of the Eco-Challenge Series created by EDF and InnoCentive. Together EDF and InnoCentive work with leading companies to tap the power of open innovation and crowdsourcing to address real-world environmental issues faster and more efficiently, while generating measureable business value. Challenges are posted to InnoCentive's Global Solver Community comprised of more than 250,000 creative and diverse problem Solvers.
Previous EDF-InnoCentive Challenges have resulted in new ideas for the capture of toxic nitrate from agricultural processes and novel ideas for recycling lead-heavy CRT glass.
"The problem of electronic waste disposal is one that we're seeing more frequently as the pace of innovation in the IT industry accelerates," said InnoCentive CEO Dwayne Spradlin. "The environmental impact of this innovation is one that must not be overlooked. We applaud EMC's leadership role in this initiative and are delighted that we can apply our expertise to solving this critical issue."
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