The devastating effects of our changing climate are already being seen worldwide. As a unified global response becomes more urgent, the role of sustainability will grow in the IT channel and its transformation in the coming years.
Alongside digital technology endeavours, sustainability and net zero goals will be at the forefront of customer minds - demonstrating the opportunity for channel partners to take immediate action in this space.
CRN's latest research on this topic, in association with Schneider Electric, finds around 75 per cent of organisations agree prioritising sustainability is a challenge when cost, resilience, and security also come into play. Increasingly, organisations are looking to their partners to help reduce their environmental impact, with 60 per cent agreeing that having the right channel partner is now integral in meeting sustainability ambitions.
Channel partners have a duty to help customers make informed choices about the environmental implications of technology. Manufacturing and the supply chain are integral areas to address for sustainable efforts, demanding that businesses can account for use of carbon-intensive resources.
Businesses can lead a change in behaviour when it comes to technology's impact on the environment. For example, many organisations must address their role in the circular economy and focus on developing practices to evolve supply chains, procurement processes and revenue streams. Ensuring products are sourced, manufactured, and transported in a sustainable fashion will also be the difference between businesses that thrive in the next decade and those who get left behind.
Operations cannot be dependable without sustainable choices. Customers are starting to demand genuine, tangible data to show how their environmental impact can be reduced and sustained. Without evidenced metrics, continuous improvements cannot be made, and environmental goals cannot be demonstrably achieved. Demand is evident - 1-in-2 IT leaders say having a tool to audit infrastructure sustainability would be beneficial to their business.
Implementing ESG measures are crucial to this. For example, assessing the efficiency of legacy IT or data centre infrastructure equipment, or an organisation's carbon footprint, can help drive decision making and reduce both emissions and costs. Helping customers to understand their infrastructure and its wider impacts, while providing analytic and benchmark information, will allow them to reclaim time and money, take steps to reduce CO2 emissions, and ensure they can continue operating for years to come.
Energy consumption, from both an environmental and a total cost of ownership perspective, must also be evaluated or considered during the purchasing process. Providing customers with tools to measure environmental factors like energy use or embodied carbon will become increasingly important as end-user expectations shift. This will also include cloud-based services where the energy used isn't directly on the customers' business premises, and where scope II and III emissions will be vital to address.
Channel businesses that want to frame themselves as trusted advisors must demonstrate that their organisations and services are committed to sustainability. Partners with weak environmental credentials will increasingly be outcompeted by those with greener alternatives.
Despite progress being made, there is still a significant practical opportunity for those in the channel to help businesses on the journey to a greener future, particularly within the realms of critical-power, IT, and data centres.
Sixty per cent of organisations say they are proactively working towards sustainability and net zero goals - with the right guidance this number will grow. Channel partners can remove the complexity from their customers by providing the assessments, consultancy, tools, and services expertise.
To learn more about CRN's research into approaching sustainable business, read the full report here.
This article is sponsored by Schneider Electric.