Now that you’ve joined the Challenge, what’s next?
Below are suggested steps for getting started on the Challenge.
If your organization has not yet signed up to participate in the Challenge, register online.
1. Become familiar with the SEC Program Requirements
The Challenge asks Partners to:
- Assess current practices
- Select area(s) for improvement within the “lifecycle” of office equipment: purchasing, use, and end-of-life management
- Implement program strategies in the selected areas
- Report annually on results
Each of these steps is discussed in more detail below. Partners that complete the Challenge requirements are eligible for bronze, silver or gold recognition.
2. Review Current Practices
It’s recommended that Partners benchmark their current practices within four to six weeks of joining the Challenge by completing the Benchmark & Annual Reporting Form.
The process of completing the reporting form is a great tool for initiating a dialogue within your organization about electronics stewardship, identifying areas where your current programs may fall short, and where you might want to focus your Challenge efforts. It’s also a great opportunity to identify which individuals or departments are responsible for key issues, and to enlist their support!
Since this is a benchmark tool, it is totally acceptable to respond “don’t know” to any of the questions. You might even choose to work on improving data collection and tracking as part of your Challenge efforts over the course of the calendar year. You will be asked to complete the same reporting form at the end of the calendar year - so you will see your progress!
3. Select Lifecycle Focus
As a Partner, you decide which of three “lifecycle” areas you’d like to work on: purchasing green equipment, using equipment efficiently, or managing equipment that is taken out of service responsibly. Your organization can choose to focus on one, two, or all three areas. Over the course of the calendar year, you can scale up, scale back, or even change your goals. It’s all up to your organization.
Here’s a snapshot of the three focus areas of the Challenge:
- Purchasing. The focus is on putting policies and vendor contracts in place that give a preference to “green” office equipment, which is defined by EPEAT® (Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool), the green rating system for electronics. The Challenge also establishes a goal that 95% of equipment purchases or leases are EPEAT registered. For a quick overview of EPEAT, download the EPEAT fact sheet.
- Use. The efficient use of office equipment is the focus. The Challenge targets two areas with great potential for wasteful consumption and efficiency gains—energy and paper consumption. In this focus area, Partners establish energy efficiency and paper reduction policies, educate staff, and implement power down and printer management strategies.
- End-of-life Management. What happens to equipment that is removed from desktops and offices? This focus area emphasizes the responsible management of equipment taken out of service, including equipment reuse through donations, if possible, and responsible recycling. An important outcome is the use of recyclers with third party certifications to electronics recycling standards.
4. Pull Together a Team & Resources
Responsibility for office equipment from purchasing through use and disposition is likely assigned to different functions within your organization. Form a team to work on the Challenge, or at least, reach out to individuals who are responsible to gather data or assist in implementing Challenge strategies. Who might assist? Look into the roles and responsibilities of IT staff, purchasing, facilities, property management, public works, and solid waste/recycling, for example.
5. Implement Challenge Strategies in Selected Areas
For each lifecycle area, there is a list of strategies outlined in the Program Requirements Checklist. Over the course of the year, you can always decide to add another lifecycle phase, or drop one if needed.
The Challenge provides the following resources and tools to assist Partners:
- Resources on the Challenge website, including sample policies, “how-to” guides and fact sheets on EPEAT, power management, printer management, and electronics recycling, for example.
- Free technical assistance by email or phone
- Partner only webinars.
6. Submit Annual Reporting Form
On an annual basis, Partners submit the Annual Reporting Form by January 31. The Annual Reporting Form helps to measure progress and provides the data necessary for calculating the environmental benefits of your electronics stewardship activities. Using the Annual Reporting Form data, Challenge staff prepares a customized Sustainability Report for each Partner that documents its actions. The Sustainability Report includes reductions in energy use, greenhouse gases, toxics, and hazardous wastes, municipal solid wastes.
7. Apply for An Award
At the end of the year we encourage Partners to apply for an award by submitting the Award Application to let us know what your organization accomplished. The Challenge recognizes your accomplishments at the following award levels:
Gold award: completed all activities in 3 lifecycle areas
Silver award: completed all activities in 2 lifecycle areas
Bronze award: completed all activities in 1 lifecycle areas
Questions? Please contact us!