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The vast majority of European channel partners have set out sustainability strategies, and many are tapping into demand from customers for environmental, social and governance (ESG) solutions.
Smaller partners are struggling with devising a sustainability strategy and could do with help, according to Canalys research undertaken on behalf of Schneider Electric.
Canalys found that 75% of Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) partners have developed ESG strategies, and 28% have created a dedicated sustainability team. The report uncovered that 69% of partners reported that customer ESG strategies are driving investment decisions, and found that smaller partners were struggling with establishing an approach to sustainability.
David Terry, vice-president of IT channels at Schneider Electric, Europe, said that it was determined to support the channel with sustainability efforts.
“Manufacturers, IT distribution partners and parts of the ecosystem needs to come together to support IT partners. We’re doing everything we can within our own operations,” he added. “If we look at our commitments, they are constantly evolving, as we get more experience, we gather more pace with our commitments.”
He said Schneider was advising partners to start its own sustainability journey with three steps: “Assess where you are and start the measurement, which is key. As we move forward on the sustainability journey, digitise. You can’t talk about sustainability without talking about digitisation...and the third piece is decarbonise.
“Not one single person would do this on their own. Sustainability and reducing CO2 emissions across the channels that we have is a team sport. It’s the vendors, the manufacturers, distribution and its resellers. It’s the logistical services we use and it is the recycling services. But it’s one of the biggest opportunities we have,” he said.
Terry said that the firm was supporting the channel through its partner programme and would play its part in helping them take stock and move forward on the sustainability issue.
Rachel Brindley, senior director of channels at Canalys, said that there were several factors driving increased interest in sustainability, including a focus on supply chains that had sparked more interest in take back and circular economy approaches, the pressure of the regulatory environment and the social aspect, and the incoming generation of workers demanding their employers to take the issue seriously.
“Customers are really focused on looking at looking at their sustainability strategies, and they’re expecting their partners to conform to being sustainable and and having strategies of their own,” she said.
“From our research at Canalys, we’re seeing that partners are really invested in their sustainability strategies,” she added. “There’s a huge opportunity to partners in circular, and the vendors needing to step up to meet that challenge. The partners are identifying opportunities, particularly at the moment in energy efficiency, energy management and monitoring and remote management.”
Canalys found that partners were looking to invest in moving to green technology, using sustainable IoT [internet of things] solutions, moving to electric vehicle fleets, and developing energy assessments.
“Things like carbon reduction and carbon audits will become increasingly important, as well as the energy optimisation,” said Brindley.