There is no doubt that the climate change crisis has put the issue in the spotlight and resellers are being asked to not only help customers but show their own credentials around sustainability
The recent pledge by Microsoft to become carbon negative by 2030 was a significant public boost to the cause of sustainability. As was the software giant’s commitment to “remove from the environment all the carbon the company has emitted either directly or by electrical consumption” since it was founded in 1975.
But the vendor’s statement that achieving the target would include cutting carbon emissions by more than half for its “entire supply and value chain” is also likely to focus attention on the role Microsoft expects channel partners to play in achieving its sustainability goals.
It gives rise to a number of questions which could have potentially far-reaching effects on the relationships partners have with their customers, distributors and vendors.
With sustainability moving up the agenda, what should channel partners do to help customers make informed choices on the environmental impact of the technology they adopt? Will there be an expectation on channel businesses to include sustainability as one of the factors in their trusted advisor status?
Will customers expect partners to rank suppliers based on their sustainability policies? Will sustainability become a significant factor in what technology and services channel partners provide or recommend to customers? And how will partners be able to demonstrate good environmental practice across the entire supply chain from vendor to customer?
Channel’s environmental responsibility
Shaun Lynn, CEO at Agilitas, believes “the manufacturing of technology is becoming a mighty problem” from an environmental standpoint. “The manufacturing of IT equipment is using a large amount of our natural resources, and we are unfortunately running out,” he adds, quoting figures that claim “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.”
The onus is on partners to take responsibility, he says. “We have been presented with the opportunity to lead and change our behaviours when it comes to our focus on the environment. The aim is to help educate the market and make it an integral part of our core offering, rather than a secondary add-on.”
He says channel businesses need to “reconsider how they address sustainability factors”, for example by “replacing the linear approach of ‘make, use, dispose’ with a more circular method” that focuses on recuperating products at the end of their life.
“The manufacturing of technology is becoming a mighty problem [from an environmental standpoint]. The manufacturing of IT equipment is using a large amount of our natural resources, and we are unfortunately running out”
Shaun Lynn, Agilitas