SUSE partners with Close the Gap to reduce its carbon footprint while bridging the digital divide

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Today, everything is digitally connected—from gaming, banking, education, and job searching, to socializing with your friends and family. While access to technology and the internet has become abundant in the developed world, a significant portion of the world’s population still does not have this same freedom to access. At the same time, global warming and environmental issues persist.  

As a global leader in technology and open source, SUSE is committed to reducing its carbon footprint while simultaneously bridging the digital divide. The digital divide is a gap between those who have access to digital technology and those who do not. We can play a crucial role in achieving the three pillars of sustainable development: economic development, social inclusion, and environmental protection. 

“Taking action to extend the life of IT hardware where possible is effective in reducing emissions associated with its production. This critical environmental action is included in SUSE’s future IT strategy.”- Christine Ashton, Chief Information Officer at SUSE.  

In April 2022, SUSE formally launched its new IT Recycling Program, which began with a donation from our headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany, and our office in Beijing, China. Together they donated over 100 pieces of equipment, including desktop towers, laptops, monitors, and more. A cross-functional team within SUSE is leading the initiative with plans to expand to other locations. This team includes leaders from the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) office and IT division.  

What is Close The Gap?  

Close the Gap, an international social enterprise, aims to bridge the digital divide. Their mission is to create a sustainable circular economy when the production and consumption of technical hardware is shared, leased, reused, recycled, and refurbished for as long as possible. They will do this by offering high-quality, pre-owned computers donated by companies to educational, medical, and social projects around the globe. Since 2003, Close the Gap has received over one million computers from companies worldwide, has supported nearly 6,000 projects, and has reached more than three million beneficiaries. 

Speaking with Didier Appels, Director at Close the Gap, he had this to say about what drives their mission. “Access to digital tools & connectivity is essential in the current digital society, but access is not as self-evident as one might think. Today we still see that 1 out of 2 households does not have access to a computer or a laptop. This is way too high since members of these households miss out on opportunities to look for information online, get educated online, and build skills that are so important in today’s job markets worldwide. That is why we do what we do. We try to bridge that digital divide by giving access to high quality and low cost refurbished computers.” 

Additionally, Close the Gap focuses on using its resources to end poverty and provide quality education, gender equality, job opportunities, and economic growth. 

How does Close the Gap work?  

Close the Gap collects decommissioned IT equipment from SUSE, arranges for the assets to undergo software cleaning and security checks, then configures the hardware according to the requirements of its end-users. Next, the equipment is shipped to the destination country to support educational, medical, entrepreneurial, and social projects. Most IT assets are delivered to non-government organizations (NGOs), schools, universities, and entrepreneurial groups. 

Go here to learn more about the supported projects. 

SUSE & Close the Gap 

SUSE’s long-term vision is to develop an ongoing program to donate end-of-life IT hardware with SUSE Linux installed for in-demand projects worldwide. We believe that by providing IT equipment powered by SUSE Linux software provides a more complete solution to the technology gap.  Currently, SUSE and Close the Gap are exploring how to operationalise this vision. 

Get Involved  

If you’re a SUSE employee and or would like to learn more, contact SUSE’s CSR manager, Brendan Bulmer, at brendan.bulmer@suse.com .

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