Log-off, restart and recycle - PwC’s electronic waste programme

Nearly all of PwC’s 17,680 partners and staff require a laptop to do their daily work.  This generates significant potential for electronic waste. To address this responsibly, seven years ago we developed a standardised approach for all of our operations in China and Hong Kong. It entails four key stages:

  • Data security – Given the confidential information we manage it is vital that our data remains exactly that - confidential. This is why, before we do anything with our laptops we make sure that our hard drives are wiped clean, rendering the data unrecoverable. This is an integral part of our internal data privacy and security management activities. 
  • Donation – When our products reach the end of their first life, we refurbish them and donate them to support good causes. We donate approximately 4% of our laptops to charities, NGOs and social enterprises annually. We aim to increase this donation to 10% in the forthcoming years.
  • Reselling – For our remaining laptops, we resell them on the second-hand market, enabling us to extend their usable life and also generate revenue for the organisation. 
  • Recycling – Recycling e-waste is often a complicated process which can present environmental hazards if not done correctly. This is why we treat this stage as our last resort and only work with recognised service providers who help us recycle our laptops responsibly.

PwC’s Green IT classrooms

In September 2015 PwC partnered with social enterprise Netspring to help fund the development of two Green IT classrooms in Nanchong in Sichuan province, China.  The initiative involved setting up Green IT Classrooms as well as donating refurbished computers. To continue the impact of this three-year programme, in FY18 we renewed our support for the two Classrooms, replacing the laptops originally donated to each school, which were returned to Netspring for end-of-life recycling.

Overview of the impacts of PwC's Green IT classrooms

Relevant school Number of students Approximate number of IT
lessons received*
Xin Ci Tang Primary
2015-2016: 58 students 2015-2016: 4,176 hrs
2016-2017: 42 students 2016-2017: 1,512 hrs
2017-2018: 40 students 2017-2018: 1,440 hrs
Dong Fang Hong
Primary School
2015-2016: 74 students 2015-2016: 15,984 hrs
2016-2017: 31 students 2016-2017: 2,232 hrs
2017-2018: 34 students 2017-2018: 2,448 hrs

*This was estimated based on the # of children attending the school x # of IT lessons provided during the school year.

These computers are now being used to provide valuable IT skills to underprivileged children in rural China.

"Children are using computers to practice typing, drawing and searching information. This has opened their eyes to the outside world and learning new knowledge"

Principle Zhou, Dong Fang Hong Primary School, Sichuan province, China

Contact us

Callum Douglas

Director, PwC China

Tel: +[86] (10) 6533 5772

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