AEC Computer: Adopting a Circular Business Model for Used Electronics


This case focuses on AEC Computer, a large computer manufacturer based in the United States which has implemented an innovative strategy for reusing old electronics. As AEC was preparing to launch ambitious sustainability goals for the year 2030, the company had to overcome a range of technical, supplier-related, regulatory, and consumer-related challenges in order to scale up their closed-loop manufacturing. How should AEC ensure a reliable supply of used plastics? What can they do to minimize the greenhouse gas emissions of take-back and remanufacturing? How should they measure and communicate the benefits of their circular products to customers to increase demand? How can they get the entire industry on board to increase demand and reduce the cost of recycled material? Is it possible to extend their products’ useful life while remaining profitable? The case introduces students to the problem of e-waste, the concept of a circular economy, and how companies can design and implement successful business models for product reuse and remanufacturing.

This case was prepared for inclusion in SAGE Business Cases primarily as a basis for classroom discussion or self-study, and is not meant to illustrate either effective or ineffective management styles. Nothing herein shall be deemed to be an endorsement of any kind. This case is for scholarly, educational, or personal use only within your university, and cannot be forwarded outside the university or used for other commercial purposes.

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