30 Aug 2022
by Jonathan Stern

Sustainability: Passing the buck? (Guest blog from Computacenter)

Guest blog from Jonathan Stern, Public Sector Director, Computacenter

It is now 2022, and with every day, month, and year that passes, we are collectively under an increasing pressure to safeguard our natural, social, and economic environment. As ecological and political landscapes become increasingly unstable, securing a sustainable but agile pathway forward is at the forefront of modern-day business strategy.

Partnering with sustainable organisations or buying green products is a simple way to reduce our impact on the planet and promote sustainability up the supply chain but is this just passing the buck? Is buying from a sustainable partner actually making a difference, or have we become accustomed to paying a premium for lip-service in an already convoluted industry of benchmarks, targets, and greenwashing?

Sustainability - in full - is a much broader topic than good environmental practice, it covers healthy economic growth, sourcing resilience, ethical procurement, and policies that affect the wellbeing of people all throughout the complex global supply chain - just to name a few. For too long, our collective approach to solving many of these problems has been virtuous, but ad hoc in its execution. With the advent of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, we’ve seen much more coordination, awareness, and participation in the efforts to solve many of these global challenges. Whilst it is near impossible to address all of these goals at once, it’s important to know where an organisation can make the most difference and subsequently apply sound sustainable principles throughout everything else they do. 

In the IT sphere, Computacenter occupies a unique position, one where ongoing efforts have made our operations amongst the most sustainable in the industry, and also from the solutions that enable our customers to achieve their sustainability goals. At the very core of what we do, we aim to ‘Enable Success’, and for many organisations, this now encompasses sustainability or ESG targets. This is not an unfounded claim about what we’re doing for our people and planet, but rather, the fact that what we do allows mass adoption of new technologies that build efficiency, create resilience, and improve the daily experience at a scale beyond those of individual actions.

So what?

When it comes to building tomorrow’s IT solutions, what is the importance of incorporating sustainability into the roadmap? Should I be looking for certifications? And is focusing on sustainability going to impact the quality of service I can expect to receive?

In short, the most sustainable organisations are those that are most prepared for lateral risk in the industry they operate within. This encompasses meeting national climate targets where relevant, securing inclusive access to diverse talent and their subsequent retention, the ability to be agile in the face of geo-political instability, and enacting transparent governance throughout the structures in which they operate within. By doing these things well, an organisation can demonstrate preparedness which in turn mitigates potential risks being passed down the supply chain.

The unique position I mentioned Computacenter operates in hasn’t come about by accident; we’re different from many other Value Added Resellers (VARs) as we also focus on wider, overarching solutions and services. This means that as an enabler for mass adoption, we can help customers make decisions that not only enable positive change, but we can actively drive it and influence it too. It is no longer acceptable to sit back and passively be part of the sustainability solution with what we do day-to-day, the choices and direction we take for ourselves – ensuring sustainable operations, must be in sympathy with incorporating sustainability into our customer discussions and position in the industry, using this position for good.

Whether it is improving working conditions for people through innovative and assistive technologies or securing a private cloud against threats – known and emerging, leveraging clean energy for provisioning, or using our expansive Circular Services offering to recycle finite resources, Computacenter has many solutions that help organisations address the pressing challenges faced within the sustainability sphere.

So to answer the question, are we just passing the buck? The short answer is, if you seek benchmarks, certifications, or a tick-box style sustainability agenda you are missing out on the innovation and disruptive solutions that our industry can offer. If you want to leverage the power of tech, the ultimate enabler, we must incorporate these solutions into our business agendas, sustainability roadmaps, and the way we approach our long-term goals – business or otherwise. Like every organisation, we too are making the same choices both upstream and down, for our people, our planet, and of course, our customers.

Author:  Jonathan Stern, Public Sector Director, Computacenter

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Jonathan Stern

Public Sector Director, Computacenter