A Q&A with Rebekah Griffiths, Assurant’s VP of Product Management – Device Lifecycle Solutions

Within five minutes of hearing Rebekah Griffiths speak about sustainability, you can tell it all feels very personal. At Assurant, she’s made it her business and her purpose to embed sustainability and circularity efforts within our product solutions — with results that positively impact our planet. Recently, we sat down with Rebekah to ask her about the impact of device circularity and what she thinks is next. 

Q: Why is device circularity crucial in today’s landscape, particularly for businesses in the technology sector?

The circular economy is all about reimagining how we use and reuse resources, aiming to minimize waste and maximize value. I see four key areas businesses need to focus on.

  1. Carbon Footprint: Within the mobile device ecosystem, we estimate that mobile devices may contribute upwards of 30% of total CO2e for mobile carriers.1 With clients aiming for net-zero targets by 2050, a solid device circularity strategy is essential for meeting Scope 3 emissions goals.2
  2. Consumer Sentiment: Consumers are increasingly aware of their digital footprint and want to make sustainable choices. According to Assurant’s Connected Decade research, 35% of consumers are highly interested in buying a refurbished device and 48% of consumers are willing to pay an optional monthly fee to contribute to this type of greener and more responsible tech.
  3. Economic Benefits and Establishing Digital Equity: Extending the useful life of devices not only helps the planet, but also offers economic advantages. As tech evolves, there's a market for older devices, including hearables and wearables, at more affordable prices. The ability to offer digital access through more affordable devices has innumerable benefits to communities around the world.
  4. Industry Direction: With global initiatives and commitments pushing for carbon neutrality by 2050,2 businesses are driving toward more sustainable solutions.

Q: How can businesses translate the concept of circularity into actionable initiatives within their operations?

Businesses can turn the idea of circularity into real action by implementing a few key strategies.

Trade-in and Upgrade Programs: Global e-waste is a pressing issue, with smartphones alone contributing 12% of it.3 Trade-in and upgrade programs enable consumers to participate in the circular economy as these programs not only keep devices in circulation, but also lead to e-waste avoidance.

Smartphones contribute to 12% of global e-waste.

Set Targets for Attach Rates: The GSMA announced an initiative to reduce the environmental impact of e-waste through take-back programs to get 20% of new devices by 2030 and 0% to landfill targets.4 Establishing goals for the percentage of new device sales that include trade-ins and upgrades will drive tangible progress.

Promote Consumer Education: Educating consumers about the importance of recycling and the benefits of participating in trade-in and upgrade programs can increase participation and drive positive change. Strong promotions and the right messaging at point of sale, along with seamless customer experience, can drive tangible results and device return rates.

Q: How are Assurant and its partners advancing device circularity?

While some of the impact happens organically with every device recovered, it’s about having the right products, sales and marketing strategies, technology, reporting, goals, and values. Through our partnerships, we’re able to accomplish a lot.

Gaining Efficiency Through Scale: With over 17 million devices processed in 2023 alone, our operations have reached a level of efficiency that maximizes ROI for clients. Device values decrease about 1% a week, so speed in addition to accuracy is of utmost importance when processing devices before they’re ready for reselling. Our Device Care Centers are fully automated for high throughput, precision inspection, and grading. And, once these devices are ready to be sold, we have a base of over 1,000 buyers across five continents to bring them into the secondary market.1

Measuring Impact: Our Assurant® Carbon IQ℠ solution tracks and measures the carbon footprint of connected devices throughout its lifecycle, providing crucial insights to measure progress toward circularity goals.

Supporting Sustainability Targets: By extending the life of devices through reuse and responsibly recycling those that are end of life, operators can make meaningful strides toward their net-zero emissions targets by 2050.

Meeting Consumer Needs: With the increasing cost of devices and economic challenges, there's a growing demand for not only used devices but also certified pre-owned devices. These devices are highly desired for economic and environmentally conscious consumers alike and can also help establish digital equity across different consumers. Our programs address this need while advancing circularity.

Q: Looking ahead, what role do you envision device circularity playing in the broader sustainability landscape?

The global spotlight on climate change is pushing companies to revamp their practices like CTA’s Consumer Technology Circularity Initiative5 that was unveiled at CES 2024 and the GSMA's2 take-back targets leading the way. Device circularity is destined to become an integral part of how businesses operate, rather than just a separate environmental effort.

As we think about device recovery, the best life for a device (and the planet) is an extended one.

Interfaz de usuario gráfica, Sitio web

Device Circularity

Our trade-in and upgrade programs channel devices to stay in circulation, not landfills. Download our device circularity infographic to see how we partner with our clients to extend the life of devices and contribute to the sustainability of our planet.


  1. Based on AIZ estimates
  2. https://www.gsma.com/betterfuture/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/Moble-Net-Zero-State-of-the-Industry-on-Climate-Action-2022.pdf
  3. https://www.counterpointresearch.com/insights/e-waste-management/
  4. https://www.gsma.com/betterfuture/reuse-refurbish-recycle
  5. https://www.cta.tech/Resources/Newsroom/Media-Releases/2024/January/Consumer-Technology-Association-Launches-Consumer