‘Spreading climate change positivity’ – the Festival’s launch event sponsor

7 September, 2021 9:21 am

The countdown to the first ever Harrogate District Climate Action Festival has begun.

There is less than a month to go now until the festival’s launch, What Does the Future Look Like? , at Harrogate College.

Featuring exhibitors from across the county and beyond who will be showcasing innovations in sustainability, the event runs from 10am to 4pm on Saturday 2 October and is being sponsored by Techbuyer – an IT business with sustainability at its core.

The launch will be followed by three weeks of activities, including a Net Zero Business conference and a Sustainability Conference for Children, put together by festival organisers the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition.

A good fit

Techbuyer may now be a global success story but its roots and headquarters remain in Harrogate. Here, Techbuyer UK’s MD, Mick Payne explains why the business is excited about playing a key role in the Climate Action Festival by supporting its launch.

Q: Why is Techbuyer backing the first Harrogate District Climate Action Festival?

Techbuyer was invited to join the Harrogate District Climate Change Coalition board meetings in late 2019, and has been part of the organisation ever since. It is wonderful to see the coalition’s work take wings with an event like this one, which should raise awareness of the issue locally. It is also nice to support a community event with a positive message.

Q: Do you think the company’s business model, which has refurbishing previously used, refurbished equipment at its core, aligns well with the goals of a green economy?

Yes. There has been a lot of talk about ‘Building Back Better’ after the pandemic, and green jobs are a big part of that. Most people think of these as in renewables, but refurbishment is a big potential growth area too. Following the Right to Repair laws introduced this summer, the Green Alliance estimates that 450,000 jobs could be created in repair and reuse of manufactured goods over the next 15 years to replace manufacturing new equipment.

You also have to look at what goes into initially producing the hardware. The enterprise equipment we deal in requires a lot of carbon to produce. Mining, manufacture, transport to assembly and first use, mean that the average server uses just under a metric ton of carbon in the pre-use phase. Refurbishment and reuse helps reduce the need for that by extending useable product lifespan. It helps with materials shortages too.

What many people don’t realise is that some of the rare materials that go into ICT are predicted to run out in just a few decades’ time. These same materials are also needed to build renewable infrastructure like wind turbines and solar panels. So by making best use of resources in IT, you are helping the green economy develop in energy production too.

A bike to remember

Q: What can you tell us about the amazing looking bicycle you’ll be bringing along to the festival’s launch day at Harrogate College?

One of our marketing gurus commissioned the bike from local artist Steve Blaylock to help publicise the UCI Championships in 2019, as well as raising awareness of the rising global tide in e-waste (now approximately 53m tonnes a year and growing fast).

There was a similar idea around Mount Recyclemore this year for the G7 meeting but ours was earlier and an actual bike! She – I think we named her Victoria Pedalton – is made out of almost 1,000 redundant IT parts and weighs 60kg. She has heatsinks as the pedals and seat, 20 server rails moulded to construct the frame, hundreds of server memory modules and a server fan which gives the bike a set of eyes. She will be available for photos at the community event but not to sit on. It’s a bit too delicate for that!

We can do something about it

Q: How do you think the district and its businesses / organisations are placed to meet the environmental challenges that lie ahead as we try to minimise the damage of global heating?

I think the key to this is attitude and belief. When you look at the numbers, they are a challenge but the good news is that we are in a position to do something about it. That is part of what the festival is about – showing people alternatives for the future and encouraging them to take positive steps.

Q: What can visitors look forward to during the festival, and what would you say to anyone who is interested in coming along / getting involved?

The community launch event is going to be great. There are loads of activities that have been set up by the organisations exhibiting. We’ll be bringing down laptops so people can get to know what’s inside ICT and how it can be upgraded. There will even be pieces for people to work on themselves.

We are also looking at a fossil hunt of obsolete technology with our sister company, Ortial. I believe they are also putting together an interactive trail with QR codes for your phone. There will be electric bikes on show too, and a passive house, so it will be a good event to come to, spend some time, see something interesting and maybe learn something along the way.

I would say come along and get involved! There are also community events happening later in the month for the festival so, if you have an idea, contact the organisers.