In an era where digital sustainability is paramount, the tech sector is facing an unprecedented and extremely challenging shift. Not only are customers more concerned about the environmental footprint of the products they purchase, but they also hold a profound interest in the green efforts of their tech suppliers, including their channel partners.
The shift is simple – as they finally understand the complexity of decarbonising their digital services, customers are starting to challenge their supply chain, asking very awkward, yet crucial questions. They expect you to be able to prove that you know what you’re talking about and that you are willing to be transparent, accountable, and factual with your messaging.
The increasing instances of greenwashing have deepened the pit of scepticism that surrounds green claims made by suppliers. Companies are striving to separate the wheat from the chaff, looking past marketing hype to identify genuine sustainability commitments. From our regular interactions with organisations across the globe, a common concern emerges: “Is our partner truly as virtuous and green as they claim, or are they another greenwasher?”
The tendency of channel partners to highlight their latest sustainable products and services is indeed commendable. Yet, this is only a fragment of what customers are looking for. With a growing sense of scepticism and a keen eye for greenwashing, customers are seeking assurance that you, as a key supplier, are also on this journey. They want proof that you understand the complexity of sustainability and are willing to share your insights and learnings. Unfortunately, many channel partners tend to oversimplify the problem, viewing renewable energy and the cloud as a panacea for the sustainability dilemma. We need to address this misconception and aid our customers truthfully and transparently.
Here at Posetiv, we fervently advocate for a concrete, fact-based approach to sustainability. Talking about being green is a start, but action and verifiable results are what truly count. Here’s a list of questions that you, as an IT channel partner, should be ready to answer to display your commitment and transparency:
- Have you baselined digital emissions from your IT services? This question seeks to determine if you’ve identified and quantified the carbon emissions resulting from your IT services. A baseline analysis is crucial to setting effective reduction targets.
- Can you share your baseline report? Transparency is key in sustainability. Your customers will appreciate if you can share the details of your sustainability efforts and progress.
- What was your methodology? Understanding your approach to evaluating and reducing digital emissions gives your customers an insight into your commitment towards sustainability.
- Which scopes and subcategories did you include/exclude and why? This question is about your understanding of the carbon footprint of your operations and whether you have taken a comprehensive approach towards sustainability.
- What waste have you identified? Identifying waste is the first step towards achieving efficiency and reducing environmental impact.
- What is your emissions reduction roadmap and where are you on it? Customers will want to know your plan to reduce emissions and your progress towards your goals.
- Who owns the roadmap? Accountability is paramount. Your customers will want to know if there is a dedicated team or individual responsible for your sustainability efforts.
- What targets and KPIs have you put in place and how are you tracking against them? Your customers will want to know if you are setting clear, measurable goals and if you are making progress towards achieving them.
- What’s your net zero target date and are you relying on offsets or similar approaches to reach this target? Customers will be interested in your overall ambition and strategies towards carbon neutrality.
- What have you learnt so far and what has been your biggest win? Sharing your experiences can help build trust with your customers. It shows that you’re learning and adapting in your journey towards sustainability.
If you find these questions challenging, then it’s time to step back, reassess and revamp your sustainability strategy. Embracing these questions instead of shying away from them is the first step in proving your authenticity to your customers. I wouldn’t want to be sitting in front of an experienced sustainability team and not be able to address these!
To sum it up, the journey towards digital sustainability is not a solo expedition but a collective effort. Customers want partners who are not just talking about reducing their carbon footprint but are actively walking the path. As a partner, it’s essential to showcase not just your product portfolios’ sustainability, but also your company’s comprehensive and ongoing commitment to the cause.
Prepare to address these tough questions, because the future belongs to those who not just innovate, but do so responsibly and sustainably. Transparency, action, and authenticity will be your guiding lights in this green journey.