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Nielsen Meets its 2020 Goal of Ensuring Zero Percent of its Global Electronic Waste Goes to Landfills

3 minute read | September 2020

We are excited to share that Nielsen is diverting 100% of our information technology equipment from landfills for end-of-life management in order to be recycled, refurbished or reused. Through Nielsen’s non-financial materiality assessments, we know that addressing climate change and mitigating the ethical, social and environmental impacts of our value chain are fundamental issues to operate as a responsible company. As part of those impacts, waste management is one of the most critical business areas where we can make a relevant impact and drive our environmental strategy forward.

“We are proud to have delivered on our 2020 commitment to ensure resourceful and responsible management of our e-waste,“ said Yamini Dixit, Director, Global Responsibility and Sustainability at Nielsen. “We understand the potential of electronic waste as a toxic pollutant and its impact on our environment and health, and we take Nielsen’s role in its lifecycle seriously. From consumption to disposal, we seek to drive efficiencies that will help minimize our global waste footprint and its negative effects.” 

In 2016, we set out to create a roadmap to define and measure Nielsen’s different waste streams, and we determined that electronic waste (e-waste) was a significant contributor to the overall waste footprint of the business. As a result, in 2017, we established a key performance indicator for Nielsen to ensure that none of our global e-waste would be sent to landfills by the end of 2020. 

When Nielsen set its goal, a due diligence effort was initiated by our infrastructure team to assess all electronic items managed by Nielsen, giving us a clear understanding of our usage and disposal processes. Nielsen’s global portfolio of the electronic waste management vendors was then vetted against specific economic and environmental criteria to evaluate their current processes and requirement gaps. “The Nielsen global infrastructure team initiated this effort to ensure we continue doing our part in finding environmental efficiencies in our processes,” said Leah Morris, Senior Manager, Technology at Nielsen. “The way we chose to do so was by ascertaining that we have visibility into every electronic device in all countries we operate in, so we can deliver on Nielsen’s goals.”

Using the information from these assessments, Nielsen made the decision to revamp the current vendor portfolio and collaborate only with those who supported our goal of responsible disposal of our e-waste. By 2019, we had identified and onboarded three primary vendors that are ensuring that all e-waste from Nielsen is reused or recycled. Nielsen also retained secondary vendors in places where global vendors are unable to operate. Less than 3% of Nielsen’s e-waste portfolio falls in these areas, and the requirement continues to be for 100% of our devices to be disposed of responsibly.

This has been a collaborative effort and win across Nielsen functions, with a unified goal to drive sustainable change across our value chain. Nielsen’s vision for the future continues to be zero tolerance for adding waste to landfill, and ensuring we build processes and partnerships that uphold our commitment to responsible citizenship.