Partnerships are the key for reaching IT sustainability goals

Partnerships are the key for reaching IT sustainability goals
August 15, 2022  |  BY

Not so long ago, environmental legislation and pressure from activists forced the business community to be more sustainable in their operations. But companies no longer have to be pushed to do the right thing. Whether it’s due to genuine environmental concerns or simply to create positive public perception, enterprises are now proactively contributing to making a cleaner planet for everyone.

Much of these efforts come from the IT department, who are part of the organization’s overall sustainability strategy. However, they can’t lead the charge alone – they must collaborate with others to achieve the company’s sustainability goals.

To successfully transform objectives into execution, IT leaders would be wise to take a holistic approach. That means joining forces with suppliers, partners, and enterprises in adjacent sectors with shared sustainability ambitions. Learning from other successes and failures, and discussing common challenges, will drive more efficient results. And by having a true network of peers, you’ll be better equipped to understand the specific processes necessary to reach your environmental objectives.

As an initial step, be sure to connect how you measure performance to company sustainability goals. Doing so provides IT leaders, and other business executives involved in the initiative, with the critical data and information they must have to spur changes in behavior, which ultimately enhances sustainability performance.

To illustrate this mindset, you can focus on purchasing and restrict actions to reduce consumption. In practice this can mean the purchase of refurbished and/or repaired materials and equipment before buying everything brand new out of the box. In addition, be sure that you have a clear understanding of the origin of procured products, as well as all of their complementary components. This ensures that no materials within the entire ecosystem conflict with your sustainability plans. Even more, consider teaming up with suppliers with verified credentials – this guarantees (as best as possible) that their goals are aligned with your goals.

The aforementioned is particularly relevant and critical to IT leaders in the telecommunications space, where IT equipment is the essential driver of all services delivered to both consumers and businesses.

As we mentioned earlier, to move from point A to point B (and beyond) with your sustainability efforts, you need an authentic partnership with other business units and functions; IT can’t perform complex, company-wide sustainability tasks in a silo. A team approach that spans across the organization is required, so look to other departments like operations, engineering, marketing, and human resources. These departments can help in reducing the purchase of unnecessary and inefficient equipment, as well as cut down on the amount of energy usage and waste they generate.

Sustainability can be sliced and diced in many ways, but how you handle procurement is perhaps the most important factor toward becoming a greener enterprise. There needs to be careful and thorough supplier sourcing and contracting, with built-in incentives and accountability. To that end, finance should oversee that all purchase requests align with the key aspects of the IT sustainability plan.

You won’t meet sustainability objectives overnight, or even over the next two years. It takes considerable time to shed legacy behavior and develop new habits. But by using the power of many – both internal and external partners – IT will lay the groundwork for a greener future.