'A monumental challenge': Softcat director on 2040 net zero goal as he joins CRN Tech Impact panel

Doug Woodburn
clock • 3 min read

'I'd urge people not to underestimate how much you can influence others', Softcat operations director Alastair Wynn tells CRN

Softcat operations director Alastair Wynn has described the reseller's newly unveiled goal of becoming carbon net zero by 2040 as a "monumental challenge", stressing that it will need to work closely with its vendor partners if it is to achieve it.

Wynn is the latest to join the judging panel for the CRN Tech Impact Awards, which will honour those vendors, distributors and resellers leading the way on environmental and social sustainability.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CRN TECH IMPACT CAMPAIGN AND AWARDS HERE

Acknowledging the carbon footprint and e-waste generated by IT industry, Softcat yesterday unveiled an 'industry leading' set of sustainability commitments.

Having achieved carbon neutrality as of earlier this year, the Marlow-based reseller giant now has its sights set on migrating to renewable energy across all its office locations by 2024, and - by 2040 - becoming carbon net zero.

It will strive to achieve the latter by carrying out a full supply chain review including all vendors, suppliers and partners, as well as introducing a sustainability scoring system for IT solutions and services it offers customers, among other measures.

"It is a monumental challenge that we cannot solve ourselves," Wynn said, before urging people "not to underestimate just how much you can influence others in terms of the behaviour, the action, the impetus and the priority you attach to this topic".

"We need to work together with our vendors, partners and all involved in that ecosystem to make sure we can deliver [on that]," he said.

Being a responsible employer has "always been part of our DNA" but sustainability has "risen in the agenda during the course of the last 18 months", said Wynn, who is in charge of Softcat's supply chain and internal operations.

"That has driven us to catapult that up the priority list and allowed us to determine our plans," he said.

Alastair Wynn quick Q&A:

Why did you agree to become a CRN Tech Impact judge?

I'm passionate about this topic, especially in the IT and supply chain arena. Together we can drive change and create a truly cohesive circular economy.

How would you assess the IT channel's record on environmental and social sustainability overall?

The tech market drives so much innovation and, aligning this with the energy, ability and appetite we have huge potential to generate fantastic results and outcomes, together.  

What's the most alarming sustainability-related stat you've heard recently?

Zero. Zero is the most important number of all when it comes to climate change. We all need to aim for Carbon Net Zero. The Covid pandemic and restrictions have only resulted in a ~5% reduction in greenhouse gases.

What advice would you have for IT providers looking for quick wins on sustainability?

Educate yourselves, challenge yourselves and others, form a plan with short, mid and long term goals, seek external input and expertise where needed and try and support and influence others where possible too. You can have impact more than you might think to drive change.

Have you or your company's outlook towards sustainability changed in the last year?

Yes and no. ESG has always been important for me and the company, but I think Covid, along with media and Government focus and attention has acted as a catalyst for change. We've really invested time and effort to define and refine plans, and priorities to generate better results and a better future for our people and our planet.

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