Sustainability set to take centre stage for the channel in the 2020s, CRN's Doug Woodburn argues
How can the channel step up as sustainability takes centre stage over the next decade?
That is the key question we will be tackling this year as we expand our coverage of sustainable technology, culminating in May with the launch of our Sustainability Summit.
With awareness around sustainability rising in the public consciousness, boardroom execs and IT managers are increasingly turning to the channel for help in areas such as technology reuse, smart buildings and datacentre efficiency.
Some 55 per cent of UK IT decision makers we questioned recently said sustainability is now a top-three consideration in their organisation's technology procurement strategy, with seven per cent ranking it top.
Some 79 per cent of the 350-plus respondents we quizzed also said they would either "definitely" or "possibly" be receptive to a tech supplier that led solely on a sustainability platform.
VARs and MSPs who answer this call are set to win big in the 2020s, which is why CRN is ramping up coverage of this important topic this year.
Channel firms sit on the front line of an industry that will play a pivotal role in the fight against climate change over the coming decades.
On the face of it, the tech sector has a lot to answer for, with datacentres currently consuming about two per cent of worldwide electricity. That figure is set to reach eight per cent by 2030.
And according to the UN, around 50 million tonnes of e-waste are thrown away each year (just 20 per cent of which is thought to be recycled properly), a number that is on course to double by 2050.
But in many ways, the tech sector is as much a part of the solution as it is of the problem, with technologies such as videoconferencing and smart buildings helping organisations reduce carbon footprints around aviation and energy.
Efforts are underway to make datacentre technology more efficient, with Microsoft's sinking of a container holding 864 servers off the coast of Scotland (pictured), and pioneering heat recovery projects - such as this one in Sweden - among the more innovative projects.
Meanwhile, the race is on to increase technology reuse and extract more rare metals from computer components, including by recent CRN Channel Conference keynoter Andy Gomarsall - who declared that the industry is "at the start of an era of re-usability".
Driven partly by the trend of decarbonisation, the global smart building market, meanwhile, is set to grow at double digits to hit $160bn by 2026, according to market watcher Acumen Research and Consulting.
After a year of floods, droughts and wild fires, for the first time environmental concerns dominated the World Economic Forum's recently published Global Risks Report.
And with the UK recently committing to becoming carbon-neutral by 2050, soon sustainability will not only be a nice-to-have, but a must-have in most tenders.
Against this backdrop, resellers and MSPs that specialise in helping organisations minimise their carbon footprint and ecological impact will find themselves in the box seat in the 2020s.
Following our publication today of an article looking at how firms in our industry can create a sustainable culture internally (always a good place to start), CRN's sustainability coverage will kick off in earnest next month with the launch of our Sustainability Report, ahead of our Sustainability Summit in May, which will be free for all resellers and MSPs to attend.
If you have any feedback on this important topic, please contact [email protected]