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Sustainability is now the number one focus for channel partners, Canalys finds

Research study conducted with Schneider Electric finds that three quarters of partners now have dedicated environmental, social, and governance resources

A business woman standing with her arms crossed in front of a wall of green plants

A new research study conducted by channel analyst Canalys and digital automation and energy management firm Schneider Electric has found that sustainability is currently the top focus for partners.

The study surveyed 120 EMEA partners to explore the maturity of IT channel sustainability initiatives, as well as the impact of environmental, social and governance (ESG) on customer purchasing decisions.

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It found that most channel businesses in the region are already investing in their sustainability strategies, with 75% of partners having dedicated ESG resources – although many businesses do struggle to translate this into action.

Customers are also increasing the focus on ESG, with 69% of partners revealing that customer’s environmental considerations are driving their IT investment decisions. Additionally, 65% of partners now offer take back and recycling services.

However, regulations are proving to be a challenge for businesses – particularly smaller partners – due to the complexity of ESG strategies, as well as the need for differing local regulatory initiatives.

“Our report shows that partners are investing in their sustainability strategies,” said Rachel Brindley, senior director of Channels at Canalys. “They are committed to reducing their own and their customers environmental impact.

“Partners are looking to their vendors to support them in addressing these challenges and they are keen to demonstrate they are making significant progress towards carbon reduction.”

To help enhance sustainability performance, the report concludes that partners should invest in headcount to drive strategy, develop sustainability objectives, and calculate carbon footprint to plan for carbon neutrality.

Businesses should also build their own assessment services to support customers, as well as influence vendors to help drive greater ESG adoption, it says.

At Schneider Electric itself, the company continues to accelerate its ESG plans. The firm says it is committed to creating a “sustainable, impactful, and profitable” business to help both customers and partners reach net zero via three key areas.

The first – dubbed ‘Strategize’ – centres on taking strategic and proactive action to help businesses define their sustainability priorities and build them into a meaningful plan using energy assessments, tools, and consultancy services.

The second, ‘Digitize’, leverages Schneider’s EcoStruxure software to help enable transparent energy reporting, predictive analytics for optimising efficiency, as well as operational cost savings.

Thirdly, the vendor’s ‘Decarbonize’ category consists of four key pillars, based on: electrifying operations, reducing energy use and waste, replacing fossil fuel energy sources, and engaging the value chain through supply chain decarbonisation programs.

David Terry, VP of IT Channels at Schneider Electric, Europe, said now is the time for partners to “double down on their sustainability efforts” to help reduce carbon emissions and waste.

“Energy optimisation, energy efficiency and managed power services all present key opportunities for partners to differentiate and drive market share, and as one of the world’s most sustainable organisations, Schneider Electric is perfectly placed to support its partners at any stage of their sustainability journey,” he said.

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