Channel urged to keep evolving sustainability position

With the industry evolving, the emergence of AI and other energy-hungry technologies, the need to keep on top of strategies to reduce carbon emissions are essential

Trends come and go in the channel, but the need to keep a focus on sustainability remains vital as the industry moves deeper into 2024.

The number of customers still grappling with Scope 1 and 2 emissions is making it more channelling to get to a stage where the supply chain is on top of the issue. Those championing sustainability in the channel are calling for efforts to continue beyond setting goals and publishing environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) documents.

“While some have set goals, they may think their work is done for now…not so. With the rise of AI, what that needs most is energy and power, hence increasing and accelerating the need for a solid sustainability strategy. We’re also guilty of seeing more consumption but not enough reduction, recycling and second use – something we have to address for long-term good,” said Alastair Wynn, business transformation director at Softcat.

Richard Eglon, CMO at Nebula Global Services, agreed that efforts needed to continue to make sure channel partners remained in business.

“If we are to provide an environment for future generations to prosper, businesses and society as a whole need to be embracing a sustainability mindset today. For technology organisations looking to thrive into the next decade and beyond, sustainability and the wider ESG framework has surpassed the stage of being a luxury item on the business to-do list and become a must-do,” he said.

Nebula recently issued its latest report ESG unwrapped: building a sustainable channel community, calling for greater levels of collaboration across the industry.

Eglon said that although it is a challenge to embark on a net-zero journey, it was vital channel firms do so.

“Navigating the multifaceted world of sustainability/ESG is a complex endeavour. From deciphering a labyrinth of acronyms and regulations to aligning with customer expectations and vendor requirements, the journey is undeniably complicated. All this while the landscape is evolving and the imperative for action is more pressing than ever. These challenges are compounded for smaller channel organisations that also grapple with resource constraints, information overload and overwhelm at the sheer scale of the task,” he said.

“However, as we’ve pointed out in this report, the rewards, both tangible and intangible, far outweigh the initial hurdles. The benefits of ESG transcend way beyond just legal compliance; it extends to sales success, investor decisions and even customer and employee loyalty. Gen Z, with its keen focus on sustainability, is set to amplify the importance of ESG credentials even further.”

Wynn advised those that are yet to set off  on a net-zero strategy to reach out for help to start the process. “Be bold, be brave and commit for long-term good. It’s essential. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the detail, facts or expertise. Surround yourself with others who can help. Your supply chain needs you, as much as you need them,” he said.

Wynn added that Softcat was among those prepared to collaborate with other partners to improve their green position: “I like to think we’re great channel collaborators in this space – helping, supporting and working with many others for greater good.”

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