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Sustainability in IT - The journey from vendor to reseller

With carbon reduction high on the government’s agenda, Softcat has put goals in place to work with partners, suppliers and vendors to improve sustainability.

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With carbon reduction high on the government’s agenda, Softcat has made sustainability a core element of its business. Committing to developing a more efficient industry and pledging to become carbon net-zero by 2022Softcat’s ‘S3’ approach looks at ‘Softcat’, ‘Supply Chain’ and ‘Solutions’.

Softcat has put goals in place to work with partners, suppliers and vendors for a sustainable supply chain, as well as reviewing all services and solutions to ensure a sustainable customer journey, with an ultimate goal to see its supply have a Carbon Net-Zero supply Chain by 2040.

We spoke with Mateo Dugand, HPE’s Senior Technologist for Sustainable Transformation, to get insight into how the drive for sustainability and carbon reduction can be increased, from vendor to reseller.


How can partners and vendors help customers understand and measure the total cost of ownership (TCO) of the technologies they acquire?


Mateo: When considering an IT investment, organisations should understand both the initial acquisition cost of any solution and the operational costs, including licensing, management, and power and cooling consumption. Partners and vendors can help their customers understand the true IT costs of investments. By focusing on solutions and systems rather than individual products, partners and vendors can help reduce the power, space, and cooling demands of IT infrastructure – ensuring that the investment delivers more work with the least amount of resources possible. There are TCO calculators available to help.


Softcat: What kind of credentials or environmental accreditations should organisations be looking for in their technology partners?


Mateo: Organisations need to look across their value chain and work directly with their suppliers to improve standards and the sustainability of solutions. Look at the sustainability performance of your technology partners in three key areas.

Targets: Do they make and stick to science-based environmental targets? Check if they have been verified by internationally well-known third-party organisations. When it comes to climate, a vendor that has aligned its goals to a 1.5° scenario and has registered them with the Science-Based Target Initiative (SBTi) shows seriousness and ambition.

Reporting: Transparency is key. Do they publicly report carbon emissions? Have they received third party recognition for their performance?

By providing information through third-party verifiers, vendors ensure they are kept accountable against strict standards. CDP is one of the most used platforms to publicly disclose and report an organisation’s climate strategy.

 Responsible Supply Chain: Consider whether their sustainability credentials span their entire value chain – from the suppliers they in turn procure from, all the way to their capabilities to refurbish and extend the life of IT assets at end of use.

Third-party independent verifiers can also help customers and partners assess effectively which vendors take this seriously. EcoVadis is the leading evaluator of supplier CSR.


Softcat: How can the technology channel ensure its own sustainability practices to become a trusted advisor on these issues?


Mateo: The business models and solutions of any reseller or vendor should ensure that the end customer receives the best value from their IT investment.

Once deployed at a customer site, the environmental impact of data centre IT equipment results primarily from electricity consumption to power the equipment, and water consumption and evaporation to cool it down.

Adopting as-a-Service (aaS) models shifts the burden of managing these resource demands onto the provider.

HPE GreenLake as-a-Service offerings enable customers to avoid provisioning, reducing TCO by 30% and resulting in more than 30% energy cost savings versus traditional capital expenditure models. Shifting customers to an as-a-Service model - one that proactively considers the full lifecycle - creates a long-term contract that positions you as a trusted partner and improves customer confidence.

Read more about Softcat’s Sustainability initiatives and if you’d like to learn more listen to our Sustainability Explain IT podcast episode.