IT Sustainability Think Tank: How IT and procurement can collaborate for a more sustainable future

It takes a village to build a credible and robust IT sustainability strategy, so who should enterprise leaders be collaborating with to make their organisation’s green IT goals a reality?

In the post-pandemic world, digital transformation just means progress.

Technology underpins every aspect of a business’s performance – how it operates and innovates, engages customers, connects with its people and handles its role in society.

Having access to the right digital resources is therefore central to businesses’ ability to thrive and compete. As a result, technology is no longer seen as a costly tool but as a value-generating asset, with investments showing no sign of decreasing, according to Gartner, even as financial burdens soar.

In this landscape, pressure is undoubtedly growing on CIOs. They must go beyond their usual focus on operational efficiency and consider factors like sustainability and corporate social responsibility when designing their organisation’s IT strategy.

Chief procurement officers (CPOs) are also feeling the heat. Scope 3 emissions – which result from activities from assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organisation, such as its supply chain – can account for more than 70% of a business’s carbon footprint.

Enterprises are required to consider the environmental weight of their tech and use the full force of their purchase power to make a positive social and environmental impact via their supply chain. This is crucial to mitigate regulatory and reputational exposure.

Quite a conundrum for CPOs and CIOs. And one they can only solve by working together.

Today, how an organisation procures digital assets can profoundly affect its business outcomes. And savvy procurement and technology executives are favouring alternative, device-as-a-service ownership models as part of their future-fit digital transformation strategies.

An example of this in action is Technology Lifecycle Management (TLM), our end-to-end, circular IT service. Starting with financing the technology, it includes an asset management platform that tracks and monitors the devices while in use and ends with refurbishing and giving these items a second life. The most significant business advantage of TLM is facilitating access to the latest tech while ensuring that e-waste management, repair and reuse are embedded in IT’s renewal cycles.

Circular solutions like this also minimise data security exposure and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) non-compliance, thanks to tracked data sanitisation.

As budgeting, risk management and renewals become predictable, this strategic planning stops firefighting for the CIO and CPO and embeds resilience. If you can measure and plan for it, you can manage it.

This predictability is gold, especially as CIOs and CPOs deal with supply chain challenges.

Procurement teams now have a tremendous opportunity to choose suppliers that embed the circular economy into their operating models. This can help businesses make their operations more sustainable and alleviate the disruption felt throughout the global technology supply chain, as shortages and congestion result in difficulty accessing IT hardware.

Circular technology services can give the CIO and CPO the long view and the flexibility to change suppliers, make or model to suit the current needs of the business. And they can also provide supply chain transparency, simplifying the procurement process.

Sustainable profitability is a team effort. The role of the CPO is to translate an organisation’s sustainability strategy into green purchase decisions without losing out on cost. The CIO must ensure this responsibility extends to the entire lifecycle, including in-life management and asset disposal, without compromising innovation.

Circular technology lifecycle management solutions are a win-win for both teams, reducing the carbon impact of tech assets while effectively managing risk, minimising supply chain disruption and securing competitive advantage.

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