Sustainability through IT remarketing

We acknowledge our responsibility to consider our business decisions and actions in terms of their economic, social and environmental impact.

"social & green IT" stands for our sustainable social and ecological value creation: we give used IT hardware a second life after data erasure and refurbishment. We have designed the entire process to be barrier-free, since as an inclusion company we employ people with disabilities. IT remarketing preserves resources and the climate and reduces the amount of waste. At AfB, it also contributes to greater inclusion in the job market.

In 2021, AfB processed more than 450,000 IT and mobile devices, remarketing 59% of them. The resulting extension of the product life span enabled AfB to save: 

  • 20,600 tons of raw materials
  • 130,300 MWh of energy compared to new production
  • 242 million liters water
  • 33,900 tons greenhouse gases
AfB impact 2021

UN Global Compact & The Sustainability Code (Deutscher Nachhaltigkeits Kodex (DNK))

  1. AfB is the first inclusion company that is a signatory of the UN Global Compact and is committed to the 10 goals of the United Nations for responsible corporate governance and publishes an annual sustainability report (COP). 
  2. Since 2015, AfB has been the first social enterprise to meet the EU CSR directive on non-financial reporting.

A study for reliable impact measurement by myclimate

In 2021, AfB processed more than 450,000 IT and mobile devices, remarketing 59% of them. The resulting extension of the product life span enabled AfB to save 24,700 tons of raw materials and 178,300 MWh of energy compared to new production. 242 million liters less water was used and 33,900 tons less greenhouse gases were emitted. In addition, the impact on human health can be measured. More information on the individual key figures can be found in the FAQ below.

The basis for determining the environmental impact is a study by the non-profit climate protection organization myclimate from 2021, which enables AfB to calculate the effect of IT remarketing on the environment and on human health using concrete key figures. This is unique in this form. Christoph Teusch spoke with myclimate about the new life cycle assessment study:


3 questions to Stefan Baumeister, Managing Director of myclimate:

  1. Why is transparency so important when we talk about sustainability and IT?
  2. Why is it worth considering other environmental impacts besides CO2?
  3. How can AfB's IT partners benefit from the key figures?

What's behind the key figures?

Icon Inklusion Work places for people with disabilities

Your used IT devices help create and maintain jobs for people with disabilities at AfB.

Saved raw materials

By reusing used IT devices, fewer raw materials are mined for the production of new devices. The globally available metal and mineral reserves (e.g. palladium, iron) vary greatly, which is why the consumption of a metal is set in relation to its availability.

For comparability, all metals and minerals are reported in iron equivalents (kg Fe-eq.) as before. This is based on a life cycle assessment study conducted by TU Berlin in 2013.

Human toxicity

Humans are exposed to a variety of environmental pollutants on a daily basis. Human toxicity measures the effects on or damage to human health. This damage can be caused by substances (e.g., nitrogen oxides) that enter the air, soil, and water. It is reported in 1.4-dichlorobenzene equivalents (t 1.4-DB-eq.) For example, for a smartphone, extending its useful life from 3 to 4.5 years results in a 45% reduction because no new device had to be manufactured for that period.

Primary energy expenditure

Primary energy consumption reflects the demand for primary energy resources (crude oil, hard coal, hydropower, etc.) of a product over its entire life cycle from manufacture to disposal. Primary energies are required to provide the final energy (fuels, electricity, etc.). The indicator is quantified here in the unit kWh. A saving of 1,000 kWh corresponds to one third of the annual electricity demand of a 2-person household in a single-family house.

Water consumption

Water is needed in many processing steps along the life cycle of a product. In many regions, the availability of water is threatened by overuse, among other things. Water resource depletion is quantified here in liters and indicates the amount that has been withdrawn from a catchment area. The AWARE method used is based on quantifying the amount of water left available in an area after the demands of humans and aquatic ecosystems have been met. A saving of 1,000 liters corresponds to 5 filled bathtubs (200 l filling capacity).

Icon CO2-Einsparung Greenhouse gas emissions (climate change)

Greenhouse gas emissions caused by human activities contribute to the warming of the earth's atmosphere and thus to climate change. The Global Warming Potential (GWP) is used as an indicator. For comparability, all greenhouse gas emissions are converted to CO2e. A saving of 1,000 kg CO2e corresponds to a journey of 4,900 km with a medium-class gasoline engine. To absorb 1,000 kg of CO2e, a beech tree must grow for approximately 80 years. Source: Tagesschau 

Water eco-toxicity

Water is a valuable resource for life on the planet, which is endangered by toxic substances, among other things. Freshwater and marine water ecotoxicity (Water ecotoxicity) refers to the effects on freshwater or seawater ecosystems as a result of the emission of toxic substances to air, water and soil. Characterization factors are expressed as 1.4-dichlorobenzene equivalent/kg emission (1.4-DB/kg).

Offset CO2 & protect the climate

"As a company or public institution, do you want to offset your carbon footprint?"

Take advantage of our social and regional climate protection project. We offer you the opportunity to improve your carbon footprint here in the region by buying climate protection certificates and at the same time promote inclusion in Germany.

Graphic CO2 savings with refurbishment of a notebook.

Did you already know?

Resource consumption and CO2 emissions are closely linked. If a notebook recycled by AfB is used for a total of 7.5 years instead of 4.5 years, 113.65kg of CO2e are saved. This corresponds to a saving of 66%!

Our environmental goals

We live sustainability and constantly optimise our processes in order to reduce our environmental impact as much as possible. We show transparently what environmental goals we have set ourselves and what steps we are taking to meet them.

100% climate-neutral electricity

We use 100% climate-neutral electricity at all ten AfB locations in Germany. Our goal is also to use only green electricity at all our locations in Germany. We already use 100% green electricity at three locations and a mix of electricity at two others. The switchover at all locations is planned in the near future.

Reduction of transport emissions per collected IT device

We emit 0.23g CO2 eq. on average when we pick up an IT device. Our goal is to reduce these emissions to 0.2g CO2 eq. per IT device. To achieve this, we plan our transports to be as environmentally friendly as possible.

Save water 

The production and transport of bottled water causes many CO2 emissions and uses plastic. That is why we use sustainable tap water dispensers in all AfB branches in Germany. "a tip: tap" has therefore awarded our company headquarters in Ettlingen as tap water friendly.

In addition, our AfB shops are members of Refill Deutschland.

Eco-friendly packaging

We have developed a wide range of packaging and our shipping team is trained to pack in the most resource-efficient way possible. This has enabled us to reduce the amount of packaging to an average of 0.4kg per IT device.

Increase remarketing quota

The reuse of IT devices has been proven to save resources compared to new production. That is why we are constantly optimising our processes so that we can achieve the best possible remarketing rate for us. In 2021, we have remarketed 68% of the IT devices processed in Germany (59% across Europe).

Reduction of travel emissions per employee

We sensitise our employees to attend as many appointments and events online as possible. In this way, we were able to reduce travel emissions per employee from over 500 kg to 310 kg CO2-eq. in 2021.

Returns rate reduced to 7%

By optimising our packaging, we ensure the safe shipment of our orders and thus reduce the number of devices that are damaged in transit. In addition, our customer service advises our customers in case of queries and problems. Both measures contribute to a reduction in returns. By 2021, we have achieved our goal and reduced the returns rate to seven percent.

99 % waste separation quota

We produce as little waste as possible and separate the non-avoidable waste beyond the legal requirements of 90%. Therefore, the share of mixed municipal waste was only 1% of the total amount in 2021.


In our day-to-day business, we go the extra mile to solve social problems on a basis of partnership and social entrepreneurship.

Promote social entrepreneurship

Promote social entrepreneurship

We want to support successful, non-profit companies in finding solutions to the challenges of our society.

Ambassador of digital inclusion

Ambassador of digital inclusion

We want our employees to be content and successful ambassadors for digital inclusion.

Reduce electronic waste

Reduce electronic waste

We want to continue to develop our business model and cut back even more on electronic waste.

Continued development based on partnership

Continued development based on partnership

We want to develop cutting-edge approaches that are scalable and based on partnership.

Transparent reporting

Transparent reporting

We want to report on economic, social and ecological achievements with full transparency.

Act climate-positively

Act climate-positively

Through our creation of value, we aim to verifiably reduce damage to the environment.

Your contact person

Christoph-Daniel Teusch
CR Manager


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