Companies need resellers to educate them on how to implement more environmentally friendly IT strategies, according to a report from the Green Technology Initiative.
Entitled the Green IT Awareness Survey, the findings reveal that 90 per cent of UK organisations feel that tackling the carbon footprint of IT systems is core to an overall green strategy, but 70 per cent currently have no target in place to reduce their carbon footprint.
Dan Sutherland, founder and acting chair of the Green Technology Initiative, told CRN: “I think firms would take action to become greener if they knew what action to take. There is an opportunity here for VARs to add value in a way they have not been able to in the past, but they need to make sure they are not selling customers more equipment than they need.”
Denise Bryant, director of services and EMC distribution at distributor Magirus, believes that VARs need to position themselves as trusted advisors to businesses.
“Part of a reseller’s remit should be to make it easier for businesses to implement green initiatives because most companies do not have the time to sit down and work out how to do it themselves,” she said.
According to Bryant, the smart, savvy reseller would take a long-term approach and draw up a blueprint to help companies reduce their carbon footprint, which they could then tailor to each individual customer.
“This is not about the hard, quick sell because most companies cannot afford to implement a green strategy throughout their entire business overnight,” she said. “It is about gaining a customer’s trust.”
VAR Logicalis has been offering its customers free green advice for the past year through a partnership with environmental charity the Global Action Plan (Gap).
Chris Gabriel, head of solutions at Logicalis, said: “About 18 months ago we had an inkling that IT equipment was going to hit the headlines as a major consumer of energy. We wanted to advise our customers on what this meant for them and how they could reduce their energy consumption.
“However, we felt we were not best placed to offer such advice so we decided to link up with Gap. We pay Gap to visit our customers and educate them on the environmental impact of IT so they can then make informed decisions,” he said.
“By educating customers now it will help with future technology purchases because customers won’t replenish their entire IT stock overnight.”
Pan-European integrator SCC is another savvy channel player who has already seen the ‘green’ light.
Jon Samson, head of SCC’s recycling plant, said: “We have been offering refurbishment and recycling services to customers for the past 10 years, but are finding that the spotlight is now on the whole green IT agenda. Customers are more interested in how they dispose of their IT equipment and how to maximise the life of their IT assets.
“We help our customers get more for less in an environmentally friendly way. The ultimate way to get more for less out of IT equipment is by recycling redundant kit back into the business. For any equipment that can’t be refurbished we can put it into our shredding machine that reduces a piece of equipment into its natural raw components ready for recycling.”
The best sales technique is for a channel player to prove that they are green themselves, according to Paul Hickingbotham, solution manager at distributor Hammer.
“We have taken on our own environmental expert to not only help us be green and comply with environmental directives, but also to advise and assist our resellers who are increasingly being asked to provide green credentials in tenders,” he said.
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