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Channel needs to get sustainability message to protect bottom line

Research from DataSolutions and Hoxton Macs underlines the risk of losing contracts and denying customers savings for those that fail to get to grips with sustainability

There is no doubt sustainability is firmly on the agenda, but a report card on the channel’s progress on the issue has concluded that more efforts could be made.

The “could do better” prognosis was one of the main takeaways from a survey undertaken by distributor DataSolutions, which asked the question, how sustainable is the UK channel?

Sustainability is already having an impact on finances, with 10% of those channel players quizzed revealing that they had lost a contract or tender because they couldn’t demonstrate strong credentials in this area.

Being “green” still lags behind price, performance and cost savings as something the channel views as important, but there are signs of a shift, with the issue gaining importance when asked if it would matter over the next couple of years.

Even with a hint that attitudes and awareness are changing and increasing, there is still a feeling that many resellers and managed service providers (MSPs) are underestimating just how important sustainability will be going forward.

Even those that opt to stand still will be buffeted by the twin winds of change blowing through vendors, with an increasing number setting zero-carbon goals, and customers, which will only increase their scrutiny of their supply chain partners on the grounds of their green credentials.

Michael O’Hara, group managing director at DataSolutions, said the survey should serve as a reminder to the channel that changes need to be made.

“What our sustainability report has shown is the growing importance of action being taken across the UK IT channel industry. It is no longer enough to pay lip service to this – if you don’t act and set an example, this could impact your bottom line,” he said.

“Whilst it doesn’t factor alongside price and performance just yet, sustainability is increasing in importance when it comes to which companies do business with who”
Michael O’Hara, DataSolutions

O’Hara added that there were some signs that attitudes were changing, with a recognition that if this survey had taken place in a couple of years’ time, the answers would be different.

“We feel this is a positive sign that priorities are shifting, and whilst it doesn’t factor alongside price and performance just yet, sustainability is increasing in importance when it comes to which companies do business with who,” he added.

DataSolutions’ research findings come in the wake of Apple specialist Hoxton Macs encouraging small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to look at working from home and using refurbished kit to support sustainability.

The channel player reported that tech costs could be reduced by 46%, realising a saving of £36,000 a year on overheads, if SMEs moved to a remote working model and used refurbished devices.

“More and more businesses are looking to go carbon-neutral, and buying refurbished tech can make a massive difference to your carbon footprint, without making concessions on business efficiency,” said Ben Higgs, founder of Hoxton Macs.

“Of course, sustainability isn’t the only thing people have in mind when they look at buying refurbished hardware. For businesses looking to cut costs, it’s obvious that a professionally refurbished device is going to be a more budget-friendly choice than providing every team member with something brand new,” he added.


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