Distributors play key role in sustainability

Given its position as a supplier of products and services, and its trusted relationship with vendors, disties are in a pivotal position

Distributors will play an increasingly important tole in supporting vendor sustainability efforts, not only in delivering green tech, but to share their market insights.

Disties sit in an important position in the supply chain, both able to promote emerging sustainable solutions as well as the circular economy and the second life for technology.

Howard Davies, CEO & co-founder of Context, has spent years monitoring trends in distribution and is expecting sustainability will generate more opportunities for those channel players.

The trends in the market that Davies expects to touch on distribution include the increasing pressure on them to deliver technologies that support moves to net-zero, using artificial intelligence to generate more insights into the sustainability position of the supply chain and then being prepared to share those with vendors.

“As lawmakers, regulators and customers begin to demand more action from the industry, distributors will emerge with a key role to play in driving greater sustainability,” he said. “They will own both the physical infrastructure and data-driven insight to support greater circularity in supply chains.

“Circularity is not a new concept,” said Davies. “But it is an increasingly relevant one when discussing IT supply chains as sustainability efforts kick up a gear.

“The idea is to change the way we produce, ship and use products in order to reduce emissions and e-waste. This can be done by repairing, reusing and repurposing these products and/or their internal components.”

Circularity reporting

What it all means for distribution, according to Davies, is that disties will provide essential infrastructure for physical circularity and centralised application programming interface management for circularity reporting.

Disties should have the best training data for sustainability and supply chain insight, and be prepared to share those with vendors keen to see what is turned up.

“Given that they play a critical role in the IT channel, distributors can also expect to be key stakeholders in the new circular IT economy,” he said. “This opens up significant opportunities for distributors with the physical and digital resources to make circular IT supply chains a reality.”

The channel has shown great determination in moving towards net zero. Distributors, vendors and resellers alike have been busy charting their Scope 1 and 2 emissions and starting to tackle the thorny Scope 3 challenges. It has become clear that this is an effort that requires participation across the channel, with all tiers working together to crack down on carbon.

Towards the end of last year, the idea of selling sustainability as a service emerged as distributors shared their knowledge, more managed service providers got to grips with it in-house and looked to share that information. Distributors are also increasing their education efforts to give partners more knowledge around the sustainability issue.

To read Davies’ full thoughts about sustainability and the channel, click here.

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