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EMEA channel leading the way on sustainability

Canalys survey indicates that the issue is a priority for the global channel, but some have moved faster than others

EMEA channel businesses are leading the charge on sustainability when compared to their Asia-Pacific and Americas counterparts, with many more embracing the need to reduce carbon and taking steps to improve the green credentials of their businesses.

According to a global channel survey from Canalys, sustainability remains a top priority for partners, despite economic headwinds, but progress varies by geography.

Canalys has been vocal about the need for a well-supported circular economy in the channel, and the survey revealed there are signs that being prepared to repair, reuse and recycle products is gaining more ground across the channel.

There continue to be challenges in getting customers to embrace refurbished hardware, however, with some negative perceptions around using old technology persisting. The existing approach from vendors – directing the channel and customers to the latest products – is also going to take some time to modify. Some users are also worried about data privacy if they pass on old machines to be used by others.

Those hurdles featured in the top challenges reported by partners, which included customer awareness (51%), data privacy concerns (46%) and vendors discouraging circular models (36%).

Vendors were seen as playing a critical if the situation was going to change, and the channel is looking towards their supplier partners to do more to promote not just sustainability, but also a circular economy.

For those still lagging behind, the reality is that due to regulatory pressure, customers and partners are being driven towards establishing a stance on sustainability, and that is a common theme globally.

There are also risks that those that lag behind on the environmental, social and governance (ESG) front will lose business to channel competitors that have a more robust story around the issue.

“Sustainability is becoming more than just a value-add – it’s becoming an expectation, and will become a recruitment and retention tool,” stated Rachel Brindley, senior director of channels at Canalys.

“It’s increasingly clear that those partners and vendors neglecting sustainability will risk being left behind and will become less relevant to prospects and customers. It’s vital that all stakeholders across the channel ecosystem collaborate to create new, more sustainable business practices,” she added.

The UK & Ireland channel has been vocal about improving its sustainability position. In the past few weeks alone, senior leaders at both Westcon-Comstor and Logicalis have spoken of accelerating their efforts to be carbon neutral across the business. And they are not alone in taking steps to change their businesses.

Speaking to MicroScope recently, Logicalis CEO Bob Bailkoski said the planet was warming and action had to be taken across the industry now to improve the chances of a better future.

“It’s not just part of business as usual, it’s not just part of going forward – it’s becoming more and more urgent,” he said.

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