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SWITCH 2021 – Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology

- 7 minute read

Jean Cox-Kearns, TES’s Chief Sustainability Officer, recently joined the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (SWITCH) conference, bringing together leaders, entrepreneurs, creators, accelerators, and investors from the Global-Asia innovation ecosystem.

Jean at SWITCH 2021Jean joined Antonia Gawel (Head of Climate Action and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum), Justin Wood (Vice President of Strategic Partnerships at the Alliance to End Plastic Waste), and Devni Acharya (Circular Economy and Climate Change Consultant at Arup) for the panel discussion: “Towards a Low-Carbon Future.”

The discussion was viewed live by attendees made up of vanguard leaders from industries, governments, and institutions across the world.

During the discussion, when asked how TES leverages technology, science, and innovation, Jean emphasized the importance of partnering with institutions to catalyze research and development (R&D):

“We have relationships on-going with multiple universities, where we’re working on different projects to analyze and find new ways to extract materials, but also new ways to use products, to extend their lifecycle . . . .”

Jean went on to emphasize the importance of science and technology in this on-going process:

“We’re looking at solutions on an on-going basis that allow us to reuse electronic products, to maximize their lifecycle, and when use as a whole unit in its original form is no longer viable, we then to look how we can absolutely maximize the materials, and the recovery of those materials for different uses . . . .”

On the importance of collaboration as a key success factor in delivering the circular economy, Jean added:

“Collaboration is key . . . and relationships to make things work are highly dependent on the success for finding solutions. For example, in our industry, we work a lot with large global companies, we support their activities to take back their technology from customers.

One of the main goals from doing that—is when you get to the final area of recovery through the recycling process, one of the key goals would be getting those materials back into the manufacturing loop, so that they can be reused, closing the loop . . . .”

Jean also used the panel discussion to highlight the challenges surrounding the sustainability of supply and to feed a closed manufacturing loop, including how this can limit the development of increasingly ambitious targets around the amount of recycled material in products. She said:

“That’s probably the biggest challenge they (large global companies) have—to know how they will get that (sustainability of supply)—they know their sources, for example, of virgin plastic, but to try and get that same level of sustainability in the recycling supply chain is much more difficult—so lots of collaboration is needed in terms of the sources of the material, the quality and the sortation that it’s going through, to make sure that you know that, you can really increase that ambition, and move more and more towards recycled materials in manufacturing.”

As the discussion moved to overcome some of the economic barriers, to leverage the circular economy, Jean closed with this statement:

“For us as a company, a lot of it is about volume, and growth . . . . What we’re really doing is looking at ways to specialize, which makes the finance model more effective.”

Creating a Circular Economy in Information Communications Technology (ICT)

At TES, we are determined to align our actions with our visionmission, and purpose. We want to be a global sustainability leader. Our mission is to make a decade of difference by securely, safely, and sustainably transforming and re-purposing one billion kilograms of assets by 2030.

To us, it is about protecting, providing, and preserving. This is our version of taking care of people, the planet, and profit.

Creating a circular economy in ICT


Jean-Cox CearnsJean Cox-Kearns is the Chief Sustainability Officer for TES with responsibility for TES’s Sustainability Programme – Sustaining Tomorrow, and for the group’s compliance activities.

Her role includes championing Sustainability Strategy across all TES sites and supply chain and maintenance of all operational certifications. She has over 20-years of experience in sustainability and regulatory compliance in the electronics industry. She is a board member of the Global Electronics Council, and she also serves on the board of a mental health organization. Jean comes to TES with a Post Graduate in Design Thinking for Sustainability and a Masters in Executive Leadership



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