UN Sustainable Development Goals: How Component Sense Is Championing Change

Every day, it seems there is an influx of stories and articles bringing bad news about climate change and inequality. 

As the doom and gloom piles up, the challenge can almost feel insurmountable to the average person.

While there is no benefit in sugar-coating some of these stark realities, there are plenty of advantages in adopting a robust plan. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are not just an urgent call to action for nations worldwide but a strategy to reach tangible targets for prosperity, peace, and environmental change.

Since Component Sense began in 2001, we have been motivated to lead electronic manufacturers towards zero waste. Doing so means creating a sustainable future for everyone, not just our industry. Many of our business goals align directly with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. So, we are passionate about championing them. 

Grab a cup of tea; this is a comprehensive but very interesting read. You can jump to a particular Sustainable Development Goal that we are pledging to below: 

1. Gender equality

2. Decent work and economic growth

3. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

4. Reduced inequalities

5. Responsible consumption and production

6. Climate action

7. Life on land

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals explained

Wind back the clock to 2015 — the year in which the United Nations (UN) developed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This document outlined a future of peace, prosperity, better health, and climate action for humankind through sustainable development.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also included a plan of action broken down into 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Each goal fits into at least one of the three dimensions of sustainable development:

  • Economic
  • Social
  • Environmental 

Each of the 17 goals cover specific areas, including energy, climate, water, transport, technology and more. Nations are encouraged to collaborate with each other and are supported by the Division for Sustainable Development Goals (DSDG) in the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA-EN) to hit these targets. 

Flags on display outside of the United Nations building in Geneva.

Component Sense’s contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals

One of the main concepts behind the SDGs is that ending poverty, improving education, reducing inequality, and tackling climate change all go hand-in-hand with spurring economic growth. So long as developments are inclusive and sustainable. 

At Component Sense, we also believe a circular economy makes both environmental and financial sense. Redistributing excess and obsolete (E&O) component stock is just one way we are promoting a more sustainable electronic manufacturing industry. Component Sense supports all 17 of the SDGs, but the following seven examples highlight focus areas for our business. 

1. Gender equality

Goal: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

One of the 17 SDGs focuses on creating a better future for females worldwide. Targets set out by the United Nations include:

  • Ending child marriage
  • Removing discriminatory laws
  • Ensuring equal representation in leadership roles within the workplace

Currently, one in five young women are married before they turn 18, and nearly half of married women do not have decision-making power over their reproductive and sexual health.

Component Sense wholeheartedly supports gender equality in the workplace. Although we may not have the power to create systemic societal change, we can ensure an inclusive workforce. Many of our leadership roles at Component Sense are filled by women. 

Recently, Component Sense was named in the UK’s Top 10 Workplaces For Women. In the future, we will continue to support our team’s progression and encourage other businesses to commit to equal representation in the workplace. 

2. Decent work and economic growth

Goal: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Until 2020, much good work was being done to reach 2030 targets related to creating decent work for everyone. However, multiple factors have put the world back on a slow trajectory, including: 

  • The COVID-19 pandemic
  • Cost-of-living crisis
  • Trade tensions
  • War 
  • Rising debts in developing nations 

There are currently 2 billion workers in informal jobs that do not provide social protection

Our EPIC values at Component Sense ensure our team members enjoy an EPIC culture. However, we also put our money where our mouth is. We are proud as a business to be an accredited Living Wage employer with no employees on zero-hour contracts. As we get closer to 2030, we hope that championing our EPIC values inspires other businesses to create decent work opportunities for people in their communities. 

3. Industry, innovation, and infrastructure

Goal: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation. 

As we have mentioned already, one of the best ways to tackle environmental and societal challenges is a productive world economy. Unfortunately, global manufacturing growth reduced from 7.4% in 2021 to 3.3% in 2022. This can be attributed to a range of factors, including:

  • Inflation
  • Energy price shocks
  • Supply description
  • Global economic deceleration

At Component Sense, we agree that an improved supply chain (infrastructure) is a win-win. Not only will businesses experience resource and time efficiencies, but they will also foster less environmental impact. 

Many of our electronic manufacturer customers at Component Sense are sitting on about 10% of their annual revenue in excess and obsolete inventory. For large companies, this percentage can represent up to $100 million (USD) worth of stock. Instead of ending up at the landfill, Component Sense can redistribute excess for up to 100% of its value. With 2030 beckoning, we aim to educate more OEM and EMS companies to streamline their supply chain for more resilient infrastructure and sustainable operations. 

Venn diagram outlining the triple bottom line framework.

4. Reduced inequalities

Goal: Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Between the years 1990 and 2019, the difference in income between counties decreased by a whopping 37%. The bad news is that since the COVID-19 pandemic, this trend has been reversing. In fact, 108.4 million people were displaced globally due to factors such as conflict or human rights violations. 

One of our core missions at Component Sense is to prevent e-waste from ending up in landfills or less-developed countries. Historically, e-waste has been dumped in nations — such as Ghana — due to legislative loopholes and low labour costs. 

E-waste can be very toxic to the environment and people. Elements like mercury, lead, and arsenic can cause pollution as locals burn components to get to the valuable copper inside. At Component Sense, we are proud and will continue to ramp up our efforts to not only redistribute E&O component stock but also educate customers about the broader problem. 

Man burning electronic waste in a landfill.

5. Responsible consumption and production

Goal: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns.

There are several perspectives you can look at regarding the progress of this particular Sustainable Development Goal. On one hand, company sustainability reporting has tripled since 2016. This is good. On the other hand, each person wastes 74 kgs of food per year on average. This is not so good. Not to mention, fossil fuel subsidies doubled in the year 2021

We need to play catch up to reach our 2030 responsible consumption and production targets. It can be comforting to know that many countries are introducing policies to encourage sustainable consumption and shifts in production more frequently. 

Our Component Sense mission is to drive electronic manufacturers toward zero waste. So, we resonate deeply with creating a circular economy. As a business, we have many initiatives to reduce consumption, including: 

  • Using recycled or recyclable packaging
  • Preventing electronic components from reaching landfills (over 29.5 million so far)
  • Working with carbon-neutral shipping companies like DSV
  • Offsetting our own carbon emissions (more on that soon)

Our aim at Component Sense is to have warehouse operations in every continent except Antarctica. That way, we can minimise the shipping required for the inspection, storage, and redistribution of components. 

6. Climate action

Goal: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

There is no planet B. To put it bluntly, we are on the brink of a climate calamity. If major global changes are not made, we risk missing our 2030 targets, including limiting temperature increases to just 1.5%. Missing this milestone would put the lives of over 3 billion people at risk. The ultimate aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2023 and achieve net zero by 2050. 

Interestingly, 15% of all greenhouse gas emissions result from deforestation. This means that Component Sense’s work with One Tree Planted is vital climate action that is making a difference. We recently decided that for every order with Component Sense, we would plant not one but two native trees. As we etch closer to 2030, we may explore other ways to offset carbon emissions further.      

Eve Fordyce the Sales and Customer Service Specialist at Component Sense.

“I’m proud to be part of a company that is involved in helping combat climate change. It’s great to know the work we do, and every order we receive has a positive impact on the environment,” said Eve Fordyce, Sales and Customer Service Specialist. 

7. Life on land

Goal: Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss.

While you may think that preventing biodiversity loss is just a nice-to-have, it directly impacts humans. The loss of forests and species extinction have roll-on effects, creating severe societal threats like food shortages. Between 2015 and 2019 alone, 100 million hectares of healthy land was degraded. Much of this plentiful land was home to diverse wildlife or produced food for humans. 

Combatting deforestation is another reason why Component Sense is proud of our work with One Tree Planted. Most recently, we planted trees in Mexico for a monarch restoration project. Monarch butterflies are one of the most important pollinators in Mexico. Component Sense will continue our efforts in planting trees to assist in reaching 2030 reforestation targets. 

Man planting a young tree or sapling in a dirt field.

Learn more about Component Sense’s sustainability efforts

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. Do not forget that there are also ten more goals that we have not spoken about.

We encourage you to read more about the SDGs for inspiration on changes that you could make within your organisation. Stay current with recent developments on the Sustainable Development Goal indicators website

We are proud to prioritise sustainability in our business at Component Sense. For electronic manufacturers, streamlining excess and obsolete stock is a big step in working towards a circular world economy and reducing e-waste. Email our team today to talk about the redistribution options we have available: excess@componentsense.com