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Enabling responsible e-waste management in Lebanon

Ericsson GCU Head Mohamad Dergham, Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunications Jamal Jarrah, and Alfa Chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek at the press conference to announce the e-waste management agreement.

Discarded electrical equipment (e-waste) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world in terms of volume. According to the report ’Global E-waste Monitor 2017’ from ITU/UNU, the amount of e-waste reached 44.7 million tonnes in 2016, estimated to continue growing to reach 52.2 million tonnes in 2021. Failing to recycle e-waste is a missed opportunity, because electronic products contain many different materials that can be reused as new raw materials if treated properly at end of life.

As a manufacturer of electrical and electronic hardware that is committed to implementing a circular economy approach in our business, Ericsson is working actively to address the troubling e-waste trend. One important aspect of our approach is the Ericsson Product Take-Back Program. Just last week we had the pleasure of announcing a new partnership agreement with the Lebanese operator Alfa to recycle obsolete electronic equipment in Lebanon, a country which has been struggling with waste management for decades, culminating in a waste crisis that spilled into the streets in 2015.

Product take-back agreement with Lebanese operator Alfa

Alfa Chairman and CEO Marwan Hayek and Ericsson GCU Head Mohamad Dergham officially announced the product take-back partnership at a press conference in Beirut on October 10, under the patronage of Lebanon’s Minister of Telecommunications Jamal Jarrah. The partnership guarantees that e-waste does not end up in trade-restricted areas, landfill or in places where unethical business practices are taking place. It also reflects Ericsson’s commitment, not only to issues of connectivity in Lebanon, but to sustainability and corporate responsibility in the country.

In total, 35 containers of e-waste will be shipped by sea from Beirut to Karlstad in Sweden, where the obsolete material (both Ericsson and non-Ericsson) will be recycled by Belmont Trading, one of our main licensed recyclers. This amount of waste represents the biggest single take-back shipment in Market Area Middle East & Africa to date, weighing in at an estimate of 460 tonnes in total.

Ericsson Product Take-Back Program

First established in 2005, the Ericsson Product Take-Back Program is now available to our customers in 180 countries around the world. We provide a complete take-back service at the end of product life that includes secure data destruction. All of our selected recyclers are, at a minimum, third-party audited in accordance with ISO standards such as ISO 14001 and OHSA 18001, but also in accordance with specific recycling standards such as the Responsible Recycling (R2) scheme. The recyclers are part of our regular Code of Conduct and Responsible Sourcing program and we follow their performance regularly using a risk-based approach.

Visit the e-waste management page on our website to learn more about our work in this important area.

Written by Jakob Uludag

Based in Istanbul, Jakob Uludag serves as Sustainability & Corporate Responsibility Subject Matter Expert. In this role, his work focuses primarily on environmental management systems and Technology for Good initiatives. As a student of international relations, he has a keen interest in how geopolitics affect business and sustainability issues.

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