Can environmental impact be donated?

In Estonia, charitable movements are quite popular. Money is raised or momentum is given to new initiatives through various actions. We also hear a lot about companies or ordinary people donating their old items and thus redirecting them for reuse. But is it possible to pass on the environmental impact of purchasing the product as a donation?

During our activities, we have encountered many responsible companies who understand why it is important to measure and reduce their environmental impact. Unfortunately, we also see many companies with beautiful slogans behind which there is no substance or clear understanding of the importance of the issue. 

Apparently environmentally friendly activities may not always be truly positive. One such activity is donating, which can be irresponsible in nature. 

As an example, we noticed last year when the war broke out in Ukraine, that the Estonian Refugee Council was looking for computers that volunteers could use to help Ukrainians who had arrived in Estonia. When we contacted the Refugee Council, we were told that good Estonian people had already come to their aid and donated their old computers. However, they soon approached us with a request for help in repairing the devices, as the donated computers were not working, lacked operating systems, and were unusable. We replaced the devices with new, well-maintained laptops and directed the donated devices to utility, where such machines belong. People thought they were doing good by providing those in need with what they needed, but in reality, they were irresponsible and did not check whether the devices were operational. 

We have heard from quite a few companies that before joining us, they used to donate their old devices to schools or their employees, for example. But none of them knew what had become of those devices, whether they were actually used, or whether they were collecting dust in someone’s drawer. Are those devices still operational today, or where did they end up? 

Being a truly responsible company, it is important to realize that when measuring the environmental impact of a product, it is necessary to know when it will end its lifecycle. For example, computer manufacturers have already calculated the environmental impact of device production, but they have included indicators that the device will eventually be recycled. If you cannot guarantee this, those numbers cannot be used! 

It is not possible to donate your own environmental impact, but it can be shared, and that is what we do at GreenDice. Companies consume IT devices, whose CO2 footprint is very large, and we help to further enhance the value of these devices in our community, which starts from 5.90 euros per month. We always ensure that our community members receive operational IT devices, provide technical support, and increase the digital skills of members through a closed community platform.