Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC) and MTN Côte d’Ivoire have today launched the campaign to drive the awareness and collection of electronic waste (e-waste) in the country. An e-waste collection station will open to the public at Sorbonne Plateu in the capital Abidjan on October 7 and will be in place for four months.
A 20-foot container serves as a collection depot. Here, citizens can bring in old phones, computers and other electronic equipment to be disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. The container will also serve as an education and awareness center that will be manned by volunteers. At the close of the campaign, collected e-waste will be transported to an Ericsson-approved recycling partner in Durban, South Africa.
The e-waste disposal campaign, which is also supported by the Ministry of the Environment of Ivory Coast, is led by Ericsson’s ecology management program. The program is one way through which Ericsson seeks to minimize the effects of its operations and that of its customers on the environment. Ericsson does this by ensuring that its equipment which has reached its end-of-life cycle is waste-treated in an environmentally correct manner following all legal and environmental requirements.
Dr. Allah Kouadio Remy, Minister of Environment, Public Health and Sustainability: “Private sector initiatives in terms of sustainable development and social responsibility are to be welcomed. Indeed, many companies, whatever their size, abide by the national requirements as regards environmental preservation. Some of them are involved in a certification process; others have a social responsibility process. I would like to, on behalf of the Government, congratulate Ericsson and MTN and encourage you to continue in this direction. I would also like to take the opportunity to invite all the other companies that are not yet involved in sustainability to embrace it. The environment is of course a public asset but above all a common property which sustains our economy and well-being and that we have to leave in a good condition to the future generations.”
Mr. Freddy Tchala, CEO of MTN Côte d’Ivoire: “MTN is extremely excited by this campaign. We see this as a great opportunity to engage with customers and citizens alike to spread the word about responsible recycling of e-waste. And we are also proud to set an example as a responsible corporate citizen leading the way for other companies to join us in this important campaign.”
E-waste that is not recycled properly is an under acknowledged environmental hazard around the world. West Africa is reportedly one of the worst hit regions, as large quantities of end of life materials disposed globally are dumped here, often illegally.
Fredrik Jejdling, Head of Region, sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson: “Our vision to be a responsible and relevant driver of positive change in the Networked Society starts with conducting business responsibly. That’s why taking accountability for the environmental impact of all our products and services during their lifecycle through our Ecology Management Product Take-Back program is important to us. This is our second foray into extending our Take Back Program to include the public and we are proud to partner MTN here in Ivory Coast in making this happen.”
When Ericsson takes back our products, more than 98% of the materials is recycled. The ecology management program is expanding. Both through involving more countries and by increasing take-back volumes for our customers. Product take-back and recycling levels have increased significantly, from 9,800 tons in 2013 to 15,900 tons in 2014.
As part of the company’s extended producer responsibility, Ericsson provides free product retrieval and safe disposal services to all customers globally, for equipment that has reached its shelf life. The company continues to expand its ecology management program involving more countries and increasing take-back volumes for its customers. In January 2015 a similar project was run by Ericsson and MTN Benin, both countries are in West Africa. Ericsson’s ecology management program has, since its formal start in 2005, taken back e-waste from more than 107 countries.