Rethink Impact: a new chapter of creating positive impact

by Sarah Weyers, on Jan 31, 2024

In 2017, refurbed set out on a mission to make ‘new’ electronics less harmful to the environment through giving them a second life. Our goal is to reduce negative impact by making products last longer; helping the environment and the circular economy. By extending the life of products, we use them for their intended lifespan instead of buying new ones too often. We save highly valuable resources such as water and rare earth metals and avoid e-waste and CO₂e production compared to new products. Since we didn’t want to stop there, we also partnered up with the internationally renowned NGO Eden Reforestation, among players such as Reforest Nation, Wald4Leben and more. To create a positive impact, to date we have planted a tree for every product sold. Until today, we have planted over 6.5 million trees! While we are incredibly proud of this achievement, and still see the long-lasting positive impact that our trees create for our environment, we’ve learned along the way that only planting trees is not the most impactful approach. Therefore, we’ve worked to put together a selection of highly impactful and long-lasting environmental projects. This way, we are rethinking how we create positive impact.

Rethink Impact - photo by Peter Conlan - Unsplash

We are proud to introduce: Our Impact Portfolio

This new approach is about maximising our impact as a company. Today, we're financing a range of impactful projects, from

  • holistic, nature-based approaches like landscape restoration
  • to promoting the proper recycling of e-waste,
  • as well as supporting innovative carbon removal technologies, that remove CO₂e from the atmosphere.

1. Adopting Landscape Restoration

Partnering with myclimate, we are taking a broad approach to restore much needed landscapes. Landscape restoration is about bringing ecosystems back to life by fixing their structure, diversity, and functions. We're planting trees, restoring ecology, and protecting existing forests. These projects actively include local communities; this means making sure the communities can have sustainable income sources while restoring landscapes. Knowing about local tree species is crucial, and how to control invasive plants. Our goal isn't just to bring back a forest but to revive the complex relationships between wildlife and their homes.

2. Carbon removal projects

Acknowledging the urgency of the climate crisis, we understand that bigger steps need to be taken to remove the vast amounts of CO₂ emissions that are being emitted every day. To make a substantial difference, we need to scale various methods that remove CO₂.  And to do this, we're supporting a wide variety of new approaches. These include:

  • enhanced weathering (turning CO₂ into rock),
  • biochar (locking carbon in organic material),
  • and biomass sinking (storing carbon in the ocean with the help of kelp).

These projects, while highly important, are currently costly and lack sufficient funding to scale their ability to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere. This is why we've chosen to support them. We are partnering up with Patch and Carbony to support European carbon removal projects.

3. E-Waste recycling – our core responsibility

Additionally, we are investing in the proper recycling of e-waste. Shockingly, only around 20% of e-waste is currently recycled correctly on a global scale. Compounding this problem is the illegal export of e-waste from Europe to the Global South, where inadequate recycling practices result in harming nature and threats to public health. Due to this we collaborate with Minimise, an organisation committed to tackling the e-waste crisis. They work hand-in-hand with local recycling centres and communities in Ghana to prevent electronic devices from ending up in landfills. By paying workers to collect and recycle devices properly, recovery rates of valuable materials significantly increase, mitigating the environmental and health impacts associated with e-waste. This partnership embodies our commitment to a diversified portfolio of high-impact activities, addressing the broader spectrum of environmental challenges.

4. Planting native Irish trees

Our fourth, and final initiative is continuing to plant native Irish trees with our tree planting partner, Reforest Nation. Ireland, once one of the most densely forested countries in Europe with 90% forest cover, is now only covered by 2% forestry. Working with Reforest Nation, we plant via the Miyawaki method, which has proven to promote rapid forest growth (forests mature up to 10 times faster), enhance biodiversity (the trees planted can host up to 30 times more species, fostering a rich ecosystem), and increase forest density, amongst much more. Not only does it do all of this, but this method also increases sapling survival by over 50%, meaning that the native trees planted by refurbed customers make a genuine difference to Ireland’s landscape.

Our journey continues with a new focus – a diversified portfolio of high-impact activities that not only keeps us ahead of the curve but, more importantly, maximises the positive change we can bring to the world. Join us as we redefine what it means to be green and embark on a journey towards a more sustainable future. Together, we can shape a new horizon for environmental stewardship.

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