Category: Sustainability/ESG

Working to build an affective circular economy

Circular economy

The urgency of incorporating sustainability within a business model has created abrupt changes which are impacting every corner of the sector. The vision for a sustainable future is a growing priority for leaders, as the preservation of resources becomes an absolute necessity for the future of the planet.

This vision is also being driven by COP26, which has created global conversation around climate change. Like many other industries, the Channel sector must now act by addressing difficult issues and changing the way they do business.

According to some estimates, the carbon footprint of our devices, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. Therefore, the IT Channel must strive to create a circular economy where resources are used sparsely and recycled frequently.

However, this is not a goal that can be achieved in silos, as creating an effective circular economy requires Channel businesses to work smarter together to build a more circular and sustainable IT Channel for the future. Building a circular economy requires best in class collaboration amongst strategic eco partners that share the same goal to maximise resources and reduce waste at all stages of the product life cycle.

Collectively, the Channel must move away from a traditional linear economy and towards a system in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, maximise their value while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life. The circular economy gives businesses the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together while addressing important social needs. It grants the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.

The future goes in circles

Traditionally, business has been based on competitive self-interest, and while collaboration seems to work against the core principles of “doing business,” the last decade has seen this change, with most advances taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As sustainability concerns increase and are prominent on the global stage, collaboration has emerged as both an enabler and a necessity. Collaboration is now a key part of the transition to achieving a resilient and circular economy, yet the processes behind collaboration formation have not always been straightforward. Innovation isn’t born in isolation, and the need to align on the goals and risks that can arise from implementing new circular processes is crucial and should be shared throughout the Channel industry in order to find the best approaches and solutions.

Global Reach - Man working on home laptop
Hex Hex Hex Hex

Environmental issues are multifaceted, and those in the Channel may hold different opinions and values on how best to approach them, which can lead to conflict if the industry does not come together to discuss how they can make the sector more sustainable. With the technology sector leading the way in sustainable practices, this can only improve through forming partnerships to tackle how things are run from the inside out.

As mindsets for “doing business” change, the Channel has seen the focus shift to growing its value via circular business models, with collaboration playing a pivotal role in this. Strong leadership, a focus on collective gains and full transparency is now expected by end-users, with the right leadership and shared visions able to tackle early challenges and ensure the right people are involved in developing a circular approach and decision-making processes.

Collaboration in practice

By giving structure to daily business actions, the Channel can share purpose, develop a circular economy and be an inspiration to other companies embarking on their circular governance journeys.

Moving forward, businesses have both a responsibility and the opportunity to do better for their partners, people and the planet. Collaboration can lead to working with unexpected partners and even competitors who share the same vision, with recent research revealing that circular businesses perform better than linear ones. It’s no secret that collaboration is key to a circular approach, and that business as usual is no longer an option.

With some of the biggest organisations in the world calling for businesses to bring their practices in line with global climate targets, the use of collaboration will need to increase. In order for a partnership to be successful, it is necessary to get better at sharing knowledge and best practices so that it becomes more widely accepted.

With industries making the conscious effort to come together, the Channel is no exception, and many businesses are uniting in uncharted territory with multiple partners who share their unique visions and motivations. Connected by the challenges we now face, the Channel has come together to drive circular innovation and ensure that its end-users have a deeper understanding of the processes needed to make the changes possible. Only by being educated on the importance of forming partnerships over rivalry can we progress and truly implement the circular transition that will benefit generations to come.

Hex Hex Hex

Achieving and Developing Green Goals

Developing and Achieving Green Goals

What next for Agilitas’ Net Zero strategy? Putting sustainability at the heart of day-to-day business practice is key to a low carbon future, according to Helen Boggs, Head of Marketing, Agilitas.

The first step in Agilitas’ Net Zero transformation journey involved a root and branch assessment of its green status and situation. The business is already fairly sustainable as its whole model is built on repairing, reworking and reusing tech. “We’ve been doing this for over 30 years, so we’re starting from a good place,” stated Boggs.

“That being said, we still recognised that we had a long way to go to be a Net Zero business. We evaluated our current operations and collated our metrics so that we had a well-established starting point. Our team then put together a pledge which outlined the sustainability goals we aim to achieve and a timeline for when we planned to achieve them. This shows commitment to our partners, as well as giving us accountability on our mission.”

At the outset Agilitas looked at offsetting measures and partnered with Ecologi to begin reducing carbon emissions by planting trees. “Reducing the amount of carbon you produce is always going to be the preference over offsetting, but it’s unrealistic to suddenly switch to a true Net Zero business overnight,” added Boggs. “Your staff need to get to work, and in our case, we ship technology hardware around the world using complex supply chains. Offsetting provides a quick-start solution to start making an impact on the environment instantly, but it should not be the sole strategy for achieving a carbon neutral operation.”

The more you can immerse yourself in sustainability, the quicker you’ll pick up ideas and you’ll be suprised at how quickly your efforts will come along.

The next step was to subscribe to a more robust and industry recognised benchmarking service. “Although we had been collecting statistics for a number of years, it’s a little like marking your own homework,” said Boggs. “So to have verified figures that our partners can be confident in was important to us. We subscribed to ecoVadis which has given us a score and a forward plan to make meaningful improvements.”

Agilitas has been tracking its Scope 1 and 2 emissions for a number of years, which Boggs says is relatively straightforward to do. But tracking Scope 3 emissions is a lot more challenging as it involves measuring emissions from the complete value chain – including suppliers, investments and transportation.

“There is a lot to consider and it’s quite daunting to know where to start,” commented Boggs. “The most important thing to do is start the conversation. Speak with every customer, supplier and partner that you can to find out what each of them is doing. There is a lot we can all learn from each other.

Volunteering Agilitas- Green
Hex Hex Hex Hex

By setting unrealistic goals you are more likely to associate the word sustainable with negativity and this will create the wrong company culture.

“The next step is to build a more robust sustainable procurement policy. This will run across every department – from ordering stationery and office supplies, to our couriers and logistics partners. Everyone will have a part to play and actively work with suppliers to ensure our supply chain is as sustainable as possible.”

Agilitas is using ecoVadis to record and benchmark progress and to give more guidance on the next steps to make the biggest impact. “Even if a lot of the information exists already in our organisation it can be dispersed across the company in lots of different formats,” said Boggs. “Collating everything and presenting it for assessment is no quick task. However, if you get into good habits of how to create and store policies it makes things much easier and helps with compliance further down the line.”

While it’s important to have a passionate leader driving sustainability initiatives, Boggs also believes that Agilitas will only be truly sustainable if it’s embedded in company culture.

“We have a green team that meets monthly to discuss and implement various initiatives within the organisation. These can be quite small things such as providing wildflower seeds or organising company litter picks. Our aim is to always be quite visible, meaning sustainability initiatives just become a part of everyday life at Agilitas.”

The company is also rewriting its onboarding process to include information about sustainability practices and how employees can get involved. This way new members of the team are instantly aligned with Agilitas’ sustainability values. “Each department is also responsible for developing its own sustainability KPI and can choose its own objective that they want to work towards, reporting their results to the rest of the company each month,” noted Boggs. “It’s kept fairly light-hearted so it becomes more about positivity and changing mindsets rather than becoming another task on the to-do list. However, it is a way to get everyone thinking about sustainability and working together to achieve it.

Tracking: Start by tracking your progress. The free Carbon Trust Calculator is a great start – there are many sophisticated paid tools that are worth looking into including ecoVadis, CDP and G17eco. If you start by putting figures in a basic spreadsheet, it gives you a benchmark and to improve on.

Collaboration: Whether this is with colleagues, customers and partners or attending seminars or workshops, the more you can immerse yourself in sustainability, the quicker you’ll pick up ideas and you’ll be surprised at how quickly your efforts will come along.

Action: Talking and devising strategies are all good, but without action they are meaningless. Even if you start small, when you begin putting sustainability practices in place, seeing your efforts will help drive further action in the future.

Agilitas joins the ‘Techies Go Green’ movement

carbon neutral

Agilitas commits to being carbon-neutral as part of the Techies Go Green movement, of IT and tech-oriented companies who are committed to decarbonising their businesses.

Agilitas join the community of organisations who are aiming to become carbon-neutral. Techies Go Green enables each member to purposefully improve their energy efficiency by collaborating and sharing practical know-how.

Started by IT distributor DataSolutions, more than 200 companies have signed up to the initiative to date.

Deborah Johnson, Head of Sustainability at Agilitas, said “At Agilitas, we’ve been investing a lot in driving down our own carbon footprint and also supporting our partners so they can see efficiencies throughout their supply chain. By joining the Techies Go Green movement, not only are we showing our extra commitment, but we are connected to lots of likeminded businesses who are able to support each other through the sharing of knowledge and experience”.

Michael O’Hara, Techies Go Green co-founder said: “We are delighted that Agilitas has joined Techies Go Green – an important initiative which aims to benefit companies, people and the planet. It is vital that every business takes responsibility, sets targets and reduces their environmental impact on the Earth. Techies Go Green is designed to support this, share ideas and make a sustainable difference.”

Going Globalocal: The key to building a resilient and sustainable supply chain

Democratisation of Technology banner

The need for increased sustainability measures cannot be ignored, and businesses in the Technology Channel are no exception!


The industry is growing at pace, and new initiatives are being introduced to offset carbon emissions regularly in line with net zero goals. One of those measures is a ‘Globalocal’ way of working, which translates to using local supply chains at a global level.

Following the recent COP27 conference, more and more businesses are taking steps to increase their sustainability measures. As reported in Agilitas’ latest Technology Channel Confidence Index, confidence to act with impact and create a better, more sustainable future over the next 12 months scored 7.8 out of a possible 10 amongst UK industry decision-makers.

A Globalocal approach allows companies in the Channel to focus on building strong and resilient supply chains, whilst also considering their carbon footprint and innovative new ways for them and their partners to monitor Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

Democratisation of Technology banner
Hex Hex Hex Hex

Defining a Globalocal Approach

In simple terms, a Globalocal approach involves adapting local supply chains to benefit an organisation on a global scale. By creating these local supply chains, Channel businesses are better able to adapt quickly to market pressures and mitigate the issues the industry has faced regarding global supply chains.

An example of this made headlines recently, with HSBC ending its funding of new oil and gas-related projects as part of its efforts to drive down global greenhouse gas emissions. Following advice from international energy experts, the move sends a strong message to fossil fuel giants that investment is waning and also shows that investors are demanding a more sustainable Globalocal supply chain in their portfolios due to financial governance across the banking sector.

Globalocal, a term we coined here at Agilitas, is all about building local supply chains and ecosystems across global markets and centres around a more consumer-centric model. Over recent years, after unprecedented events like COVID-19 and the Suez Canal blockage, the need for stronger, local supply chains has significantly increased. Having a supply chain that is resilient, can adapt to external issues, and can innovate with the organisation is more essential than ever.

One of the main and most important elements of a Globalocal approach is that it is ‘partner-led’. Forming relationships with partners on a local scale and fostering an ecosystem between all parties helps to bolster a collaborative and innovative business approach. This can also be achieved by exchanging and implementing ESG best practices with those who share the same values and end goals.

The Future of Globalocal

Increasing expectations are a main driver for Channel businesses who are enhancing their sustainability initiatives and focusing their efforts on a circular economy approach. Now we have experienced this disruption firsthand, it’s time for organisations to step up and work their way towards mitigating scope 3 emissions in line with 2030 targets.

Reducing scope 3 emissions is becoming more urgent amongst those within the Technology Channel, and it’s apparent that it’s a concern for consumers who are becoming increasingly eco-conscious. A Globalocal approach is effective in decreasing these emissions and creating a collaborative environment where partners can share best practices and collaborate on their ESG goals.

An industry-wide effort is needed to push the Channel towards a better, greener and more sustainable future, and the impact of global supply chains is something that can no longer be ignored. We have already discussed the impact this is having on the finance sector, but it is now becoming increasingly common for organisations to withdraw from partnerships if they don’t share the same vision. An example of this is the announcement that the head of Canada’s $400 billion pension fund, CPP Investments is willing to cut ties with firms that aren’t committed to their net-zero targets.

In the months ahead, we will no doubt see even more movement amongst Technology Channel businesses to redefine their purpose and how they want to be valued, introducing a new era of eco-focused channel partnerships built on shared views for improved sustainability. Purpose and profit can work hand in hand and by striking a balance so that neither has to be compromised, organisations can continue to evolve and see beyond the now and into 2023 and beyond.