Trend reports show that interest in sustainable procurement is inarguably on a rise. But turning that interest into action is something especially IT buyers could use help with. Most discussions within the electronics industry deal with long-term visions or rather complex ideas that aren’t helping purchasers make the right decisions, today. This month, Closing the Loop and GeSI hosted a webinar to help IT buyers with just that!
The webinar: ‘Implementing Sustainable ICT, Today’, gave attendees the opportunity to ask questions to a diverse panel. Speakers included Brent Berry (Ingram Micro), Marc Pruijn (MVO Nederland), Abe Boersma (Rabobank) and Barton Finn (TCO Development). The webinar was kicked off by circular keynote speaker Stef Kranendijk, who illustrated some great lessons that could be learned from another industry. Our panelists each had their own story to tell and sparked questions amongst the listeners. Due to limited time, some of the questions are answered by recapping them in this blogpost and Q&A.
Our first panelist, Marc Pruijn, worked for the government for many years. Afterwards, he moved to MVO Nederland to help tie business to sustainability. As a firm believer of circular business models, Marc states that linear business will end, and developing circular business models will be key for the future. He thinks that two types of innovation are key: behavioral and technical innovation. As a take-away, Marc believes that we have to be involved in creating circular business models and also be open to find partners for this development. We are all in this together and we can learn from each other. By implementing ideas from others and enhancing collaboration, we might be able to get everyone started on a circular economy.
Representing the ITAD industry, we welcomed Brent Berry into the panel. Brent dived into how Ingram Micro changes from ITAD (IT Asset Disposal) firm towards an asset management partner for the customers they work for. He emphasizes that the control of assets throughout the entire lifecycle should be the focus of the IT industry, whether organizations start with reducing, reusing or recycling. By facilitating sustainable opportunities for their clients, Ingram Micro helps companies implement practical sustainability. Brent believes transitioning to a circular economy is a visionary project, but we have to work together to make this shift. There is value in a circular economy, and reality is that electronics are everywhere. We have a responsibility to start making this a priority, get people connected, start asking the difficult questions, step up and open the eyes of everyone to the notion that collaboration is key. Because, sustainable business is good business and we all want good business.
To hear more from the IT perspective within corporate organizations, Abe Boersma from Rabobank joined our discussion. He provided the audience with some interesting insights into how IT managers prefer to add sustainability to their offerings. One of his main insights is that sustainability, especially for IT managers, needs to be embraced by everyone in the department. It needs to make sense, be simple and to enable all employees to get engaged in the story. For IT buyers, his key message was that the IT world is simple. It needs simple solutions, has to make sense and explain offerings in a meaningful way. This is key to implementing sustainable IT. It has to be a no-brainer, something that can be implemented rather easily, but does not have to be the end goal. We should focus on things we can do now.
Our last panelist, Barton Finn, works at TCO development and speaks to purchasers on a daily basis. TCO Development creates certifications that procurers can implement in their tenders to enable them to ask producers for sustainability efforts within their offerings. Barton also helps purchasers to map the entire lifespan of their IT devices to enhance maximum sustainability impact within their organization. His take-away based on his experience would be that to be successful in life you have to get started rather than planning out the perfect pathway; that will give you motivation and a possibility to learn from mistakes. In the field of sustainable IT, purchasers can make a real difference, because they can get started with implementing solutions that are already out there, even if it is something small. Getting perfect should be the goal, but getting started should be the objective.
All these lessons are very valuable to reach future goals, but also to start taking steps today. We would love to hear more about your challenges with sustainability, and we can help you take the first step. Make an appointment today to learn more!