EMC, EDF and InnoCentive Launch New Eco-Challenge for Crowdsourced Solutions to Key E-Waste Issue

April 4, 2012

WALTHAM, Mass.— EMC Corporation, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and InnoCentive, the pioneer in open innovation, crowdsourcing, and prize competitions, today announced a new Eco-Challenge seeking solutions for tracking shipments of used electronic components and subsystems and ensuring that they are disposed of responsibly. Safe, legal and transparent e-waste disposal is an ongoing concern for both industry and environmental groups, which want to make sure heavy metals and chemicals are not released as part of the recycling process.

David Goulden, executive vice president and chief financial officer of EMC, said, “The long-term success of our company depends upon our ability to collaborate with others in our industry in the pursuit of a cleaner and more sustainable world. The proper handling of obsolete equipment is not only significant for human health and a cleaner environment, but it also protects data privacy and is simply an economically sound practice. With the unrelenting growth of data driving IT demand, it is incumbent upon the entire industry to continue to pursue ways to minimize the production and undesirable effects of e-waste.”

The Eco-Challenge, which will be open through April 30, 2012 and is open to the public, seeks ideas for a scalable system that will allow manufacturers to follow e-waste to its final destination, ensuring compliance with industry standards and regulations. EMC plans to share the winning idea industry wide to help accelerate the adoption of more environmentally sustainable and innovative e-waste practices.

“Addressing the environmental problems we face as a society, at the scale and speed required, is going to take unprecedented levels of innovation,” said Beth Trask, who leads the Eco-Challenge Series for EDF. “Crowdsourcing is a promising new tool for companies to find innovative solutions, faster and less expensively.” While more and more companies are recycling electronic components and subsystems, it can be very difficult to ensure that they are handled properly, or even to know for certain where these components end up. The Challenge builds on EMC’s ongoing product take-back initiatives and is part of the company’s global sustainability program.

“EMC’s customers expect environmentally responsible handling of the company’s products when they reach the end of their planned use,” said Goulden. To meet this expectation, the company incorporates end-of-use considerations into the initial design process and implements a rigorous program to dispose of its products responsibly when their useful service life has ended.

The Challenge is part of the Eco-Challenge Series created by EDF and InnoCentive. Together, EDF and InnoCentive work with leading companies to tap the power of open innovation and crowdsourcing to address real-world environmental issues faster and more efficiently, while generating measurable business value. Challenges are posted to InnoCentive’s Global Solver Community comprised of more than 250,000 creative and diverse problem Solvers.

Previous EDF-InnoCentive Challenges have resulted in new ideas for the capture of toxic nitrate from agricultural processes, as well as novel ideas for recycling lead-heavy cathode ray tube (CRT) glass.

“The problem of electronic waste disposal is one that we’re seeing more frequently as the pace of innovation in the IT industry accelerates,” said InnoCentive CEO Dwayne Spradlin. “The environmental impact of this innovation is one that must not be overlooked. We applaud EMC’s leadership role in this initiative and are delighted that we can apply our expertise to solving this critical issue.”

About EMC
EMC Corporation is a global leader in enabling businesses and service providers to transform their operations and deliver IT as a service. Fundamental to this transformation is cloud computing. Through innovative products and services, EMC accelerates the journey to cloud computing, helping IT departments to store, manage, protect and analyze their most valuable asset — information — in a more agile, trusted and cost-efficient way. Additional information about EMC can be found at www.EMC.com.

About Environmental Defense Fund
Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. For more information, visit edfbusiness.org. Read our blog at blogs.edf.org/business. Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/EDFbiz.

About InnoCentive
InnoCentive is the open innovation and crowdsourcing pioneer that enables organizations to solve their key problems by connecting them to diverse sources of innovation including employees, customers, partners, and the world’s largest problem solving marketplace. InnoCentive’s proven Challenge Driven Innovation methodology, network of millions of problem Solvers, and cloud-based technology platform combine to fundamentally transform the economics of innovation and R&D through rapid solution delivery and the development of sustainable open innovation programs. Leading commercial, government, and nonprofit organizations such as Booz Allen Hamilton, Eli Lilly & Company, Life Technologies, NASA, Nature Publishing Group, Popular Science, Procter & Gamble, Roche, Rockefeller Foundation, and The Economist partner with InnoCentive to solve problems and innovate faster, more cost effectively, and with less risk than ever before. For more information, visit www.innocentive.com or call 1-855-CROWDNOW.