A recent study by DataSolutions exploring how sustainable the UK IT channel is, found 60 percent of channel respondents said their organisation already has an ESG strategy in place, compared with 63 percent of end-user respondents. An even higher proportion worked for organisations that harbour “firm plans” to reduce their carbon emissions (65 per cent for channel and 68 percent for end users). 37 per cent of channel and 34 percent of end-users have gone even further and set a carbon-neutral or net-zero goal – meaning over 60% haven’t. Whilst positive, it highlights that there is still some way to go to increasing the commitment of both channel and end-users.
According to the findings, sustainability will be almost as important a driver for how IT decision makers select IT suppliers as price, performance and cost savings in two years’ time (it currently ranks a distant 4th).
The report also revealed that the channel sees significant post-Covid growth opportunities related to sustainability. When asked whether they regarded sustainability as key to the post-Covid recovery, 47 per cent of channel and 57 percent of end users said they did.
Michael O’Hara, Group Managing Director, DataSolutions, said: “I’m delighted to see that most respondents from both the channel and end user community have started on their sustainability journey. Indeed, since we launched Techies Go Green last March, the awareness and interest levels in sustainability has grown dramatically. However, more action is needed, and we must all keep striving for change. Climate change is real and affects us all. We all need to play an active part in slowing it down and I urge the channel to lead from the front on sustainability before it’s too late – before your hand is forced.”
O’Hara continued: “Any business looking to make their operations more sustainable and achieve Net Zero can get paralysed into inaction due to the mountain of information and negative commentary around climate change. It is not easy to produce a plan and the reality is that it will take years for the vast majority of businesses to achieve Net Zero. However, the answer is continual education to build awareness and training geared towards companies. This will help a lot of organisations to get started and establish a strategy.”
In March 2021, DataSolutions announced its commitment to becoming carbon-neutral by 2022. After measuring its carbon output in 2018 and 2019, DataSolutions set a sustainability target for next year and has already made changes to ensure the goal is within reach as part of its ‘Go Green’ initiative. The actions DataSolutions has taken so far includes moving its ERP system and other corporate applications to the cloud, adding electrical cars and charging points to the business while cutting down business travel and encouraging working from home to reduce employee travel. DataSolutions installed solar panels on the office roof, which now provides 12% of its energy needs, and also replaced its gas burning (fossil fuel) office heating system with a more efficient heat pump system.
Alongside its carbon commitment, DataSolutions also announced its Techies Go Green initiative – a movement of IT and tech-oriented companies committed to decarbonising their businesses. The movement has amassed over 100 signatories to date including Softcat, Misco, ET Works and Arkphire.
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