Today, we are in Gross-Gerau, Germany. Nowhere else is the success of CHG-MERIDIAN’s lifecycle management model more evident. Here, in the larger of the company’s two technology centers, IT assets returned after the first use phase at the customer are given a second life. Demand for these services in
Gross-Gerau has increased so much that the center was expanded by 2,000 square meters last year.
On a visit to Gross-Gerau, we find out what makes the lifecycle management business model run so well. Smartphones, laptops, printers, and servers are thoroughly refurbished and then remarketed rather than disposed of at the end of their lifecycle. This process is carried out at two technology centers, one in Gross-Gerau near Frankfurt, and one in Skien (Norway).
"We take care of the entire end-of-life process, from equipment retrieval and certified data erasure to professional refurbishment and sustainable remarketing. 96 percent of assets returned are given a second life."
CSABA KALLAI, Head of Logistics & Production at CHG-MERIDIAN
Every day, Kallai and 94 other colleagues demonstrate what professional lifecycle management looks like in practice. Their work is vital, as electronic products can only achieve a positive environmental footprint if they are actually used for their entire theoretical lifespan. The circular economy is an important approach to solving key challenges such as climate change and environmental degradation. In the ideal scenario, the same amount of resources are removed from a cycle as are added back. That is why experts believe the circular economy represents the next industrial revolution.
What others might celebrate as the economic model of the future has been central to CHG-MERIDIAN’s business model and an integral part of the company’s DNA from the outset. It is an approach that is growing in popularity, and last year the number of assets processed in Gross-Gerau rose to an all-time high. As outlined above, CHG-MERIDIAN is responding to this demand by expanding its technologycenter. Rather than attaching a further 2,000 square meters to the existing building, they were created by adding an internal floor.
“The additional space has allowed us to further optimize our processes. We can now work through our orders even faster and more efficiently.”
Head of Logistics & Production at CHG-MERIDIAN
According to Kallai, this growth is a reflection of the development across the CHG-MERIDIAN Group. The progress of digitalization is one reason why more and more IT devices such as smartphones and tablets need to be remarketed or recycled. Then there are developments such as the EU’s new GDPR, which contains strict requirements for data erasure.
"Most of all, it is the general trend for sustainability that is driving demand for our services. The environmental benefits of reusing IT equipment are greater than those of recycling, so demand for sustainable end-of-lifecycle management is growing significantly.”
“Companies are operating in a more sustainable way,” says Matthias Steybe, Group Sustainability Officer at CHG-MERIDIAN since July 2020. “And they increasingly have to earn their ‘license to operate’ – as must we.” In other words, they have to prove that their business practices are sustainable in the long term and at all levels, and that they are making a positive contribution to society and the environment. “The areas to consider in this regard range from respecting human rights and ensuring compliance, to taking responsibility for the supply chain and protecting the environment.” Managing people and resources in a responsible way is increasingly becoming a key competitive advantage. “More and more customers are asking us about our sustainability performance as a supplier and assessing us accordingly,” Steybe adds.
Alongside Matthias Steybe, Csaba Kallai is a valuable member of CHG-MERIDIAN’s Sustainability Board in his role as Head of Logistics & Production. Working with other colleagues and members of the Board of Management, the committee ensures that the sustainability strategy is implemented across all functions and throughout the Group. “We are by no means at the end of our development,” says Csaba Kallai at the end of our tour. “Sustainability is an ongoing process in which we take our responsibility very seriously.” Further proof that sustainability is not a fashionable trend at CHG-MERIDIAN, it is the way forward.
"Expectations in the market have changed significantly due to an increased focus on sustainability.”
Group Sustainability Officer at CHG-MERIDIAN