Lenovo to offer certified refurbished PCs and servers

Running proof of concepts to pick out the right models

Updated Lenovo's chief operating officer has told The Reg it is formalizing a scheme to sell certified refurbished hardware as more customers seek ways to cut their carbon footprint and save money.

Just 7.2 percent of the world economy is "circular," according to Deloitte, and the tech industry can play a better role in making secondhand hardware reusable. With this in mind, the Lenovo Certified Refurbished (LCR) was announced at MWC this week.

The refurbishment process will mean sanitizing data on the kit, replacing and updating parts where necessary, plus quality testing. Lenovo said it won't compromise on security safeguards or PC performance, ensuring that the refurbished devices will have a productive operational life with up to three years of standard warranty, and the option to upgrade.

"We are totally aware about the extraordinary potential behind refurbish projects especially in regards to the circular economy and sustainability," Marco Andresen, global COO for Lenovo Intelligent Devices Group (IDG), told us.

He said customers "will increasingly look to meet sustainability goals amidst growing regulatory requirements, this is the reason why all business groups in Lenovo are aligned on the importance of developing this area."

As expected, only Lenovo itself and accredited partners will be able to sell the certified refurbished hardware. The LCR program will be available initially in the UK, Denmark, France, and Germany, with a planned global rollout later.

It is also expected to be available with Lenovo's TruScale Device as a Service (DaaS) consumption-based business model.

Lenovo's website for the scheme currently says that it will include "our best-in-class PC and server devices," but whether this will include the entire business desktop and laptop lines, plus servers, has yet to be disclosed.

Andresen told us: "We are running refurb projects and [proof of concepts] in order to understand which are the potential models we would like to put in place in the very near future, and in this specific project area we are working side by side with our services and solutions department in order to unlock circular business capability with the Lenovo brand."

Lenovo reckons environmental sustainability is now a concern for businesses of every size and in every sector, and hopes its entire PC and server fleet will be available via LCR but isn't yet able to say when that will be.

"I need to come back on a 'when,' for now I'd say 'ASAP,'" the COO said.

Demand for this type of product is rising, partly because of economic challenges, according to Canalys research analyst Kieren Jessop, but also because buyers are seeking more sustainable options.

"Currently, most major vendors are participating somewhat in refurbished sales. We anticipate that as the refurbished market grows more, vendors will engage with it further, to avoid leaving any money on the table," he said.

And it isn't just businesses that are interested in refurbished hardware. Half of consumers polled in a recent Vodafone survey said they would consider buying a refurbished smartphone instead of a new device, with a lower price tag and environmental concerns cited as the main reasons. ®

Updated to add:

Lenovo said it will be "offering our business grade notebooks for now, whilst we continue working on the launch roadmap for other products" adding that it was picking "selected models that are best positioned to address customer latest technology needs, whilst being sustainable alternative to new hardware."

It said there was "no set discount defined as this varies on model technical specification and age" and that the program will be available in "selected markets in April," without specifying which markets.

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