John Street, Operations Director at Agilitas
What does sustainability mean for your business?
We firmly believe that businesses need to take more responsibility when it comes to sustainability. It is our duty to take this opportunity to lead and change our behaviours when it comes to the impact our market is having on the environment. Agilitas already look to re-use and extend the lifespan of the technology it supports as part of our Inventory-as-a-Service solution. Looking ahead, our aim is to help assist and educate the market where we can by continuing to develop a circular economy approach to our core offering where sustainability forms the foundations.
What does sustainability mean for your customers?
We work with a wide-range of partners and customers who operate in the international IT channel. An increasing number of those organisations are looking at sustainable credentials when selecting the channel partners they want to work with as part of their CSR commitment. This creates new opportunities for channel companies to help partners to initiate and implement their sustainable credentials, building new revenue streams.
How can sustainability be established, measured and delivered internally and across disparate organisations?
Organisations should consider implementing an integrated supply chain and demanding that suppliers and solution providers within their supply chain adhere to the same standards of sustainability. By ensuring that everyone in the chain has the same commitments to raising the standard when it comes to sustainability, it increases their ability to adjust to changing client demands. It also allows companies to react to competitors and other trends that may arise within the industry while also reducing waste and lowering costs. A sustainable chain also gives companies a competitive advantage over others in the industry, making sure they are remaining relevant to customers changing demands.
How do businesses avoid sustainability lip-service and hold themselves accountable for sustainability actions?
Many businesses often automatically consider burning fossil fuels and emissions from transportation when talking about sustainability and environmental issues. However it is important to also look at the everyday items which can too be highly damaging for the environment, to ensure you are holding yourself accountable and taking responsibility for all sustainability issues related to your business.
The manufacturing of IT equipment is using a large amount of our natural resources, and we are at risk of running out. We dump around 50 million tonnes of e-waste every year, and this number is predicted to increase to 120 millions tonnes by 2050. The manufacture and use of one computer can produce up to 1295kg of waste. To put it in comparison, a flight from London Heathrow to New York produces 950kg of CO2. Clearly, the manufacturing of technology is becoming a mighty problem.
To avoid sustainability lip service, businesses in the channel first need to ensure they are recognising all of the sustainability issues linked to their company, not just the ones that are easy to act upon. Once these are identified companies must ensure they are implementing processes that are effective and efficient, in order to minimise the damage caused.
What role should legislation play in delivering a sustainable future for logistics, intralogistics and the supply chain?
With the topic of sustainability continuing to gather pace and profile, an increasing number of businesses are becoming very aware of the issues, however, not everyone is doing as much as they can to limit the environmental damage they are causing.
The biggest barrier inhibiting companies from improving their sustainability is no visibility at a business strategy level. Companies want to be investing in things that deliver a direct return on investment which is a reason environmental issues are currently taking a back seat in terms of business priority.
However, money is only a perceived issue when talking about economical factors for a company as long term sustainability efforts can actually create long term financial savings. There is also an initial investment cost required to put these long term efforts into place, which can discourage companies in taking the plunge to implement them. This is where government legislation and incentive programs can come into play to help companies cover initial costs and foster a more long-term view when moving to a more sustainable business model. It is also important that the government is educating the industry on the effect it has through global climate policies.