Scandinavian customers are increasingly seeing social and environmental IT as an important factor in how they rate their IT suppliers (vote in our poll at the bottom to let us know if it's important for your clients).
That is according to Andreas Rydell, group sustainability officer of Atea, who claims that the Swedish-based reseller giant is setting an example for its competitors when it comes to environmental and social sustainability, CRN sister publication Channelnomics Europe has reported.
CRN recently spoke to Sören Enholm, the CEO of Swedish not-for-profit sustainability certification body TCO Development, who claimed that Atea in particular were "all in" on sustainability.
Speaking to Channelnomics Europe, Rydell said that customers are increasingly considering sustainable IT as an important factor when choosing an IT provider. As a result, Rydell said that Atea has made efforts to advise customers on environmentally friendly product lines.
"There was a big change in customer behaviour about two or three years ago. We have seen an increase in customers actually wanting these environmentally friendly solutions or sustainable solutions and there is a trend in the public sector, and maybe even bigger private firms, that actually want their procurement process to be environmentally friendly," he said.
"A few years ago a trend started where customers decided to rate suppliers on whether they could provide environmentally friendly solutions. If you could, you got a higher score. We try to educate our customers on the labels that are currently the best in terms of environmentally friendly products. But these can change over a period of time, so we are always updating it."
Rydell said that Atea started implementing "green IT" initiatives in 2007, when the reseller began developing recycling schemes for IT hardware and mobile phones. Now Atea boasts a team of 12 people who are directly working in Atea's sustainability team. The reseller then began monitoring manufacturer supply chains in 2012.
"Looking back 10 to 12 years ago there was a lot of awareness for greener IT - that was the buzzword. Now the buzzword is sustainable IT, I believe a lot of it is about awareness; people are starting to understand that the product needs to be used in a good way," he said.
"We wanted to understand the supply chain by visiting mines in Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo and factories in China to gain a better understanding of how we can work with the supply chain in a good way and improve the conditions of the workers. This is one of the things we do to make sure that the product is manufactured in a good way." he said.
Rydell said that manufacturers have become more transparent than 10 years ago, and are beginning to listen to suggestions by Atea to make their supply chain more sustainable.
"I think we had a breakthrough a few years ago… in the past we have had some difficulty reaching out, but now we do not have that," said Rydell.
Rydell said that Atea is set to launch "a big initiative" called Atea Sustainability Focus during the summer of this year, which will look to speed up the supply chain process and increase volumes of Atea's sustainable IT inventory.
The sustainability officer said that he encourages competitors to use Atea's initiatives to pursue their own sustainability agenda.
"I think the main difference between us and other companies in the same industry is, we try to walk the talk, meaning that it is not just some corporate paperwork, we actually do a lot of things in practicality.
"Talking about recycling, we have been working with this for more than 10 years and when it comes to the supply chain there is no other IT provider that goes to mines in Africa and factories in China - we try to be genuine with the things we are doing, and trust worthy, and try to be as transparent as possible, because we want our competitors to copy us," he said.
Chief exec Jens Montanana claims Logicalis performed well despite 'currency headwinds'
All the photos from last night's event, which saw over 600 people congregate at the Hilton London Bankside
Five year deal with Essex NHS Trust will cover 400 sites, including hospitals, clinics and GP practices
18 individuals and three companies walked away as winners at CRN's inaugural Women in Channel Awards last night