At Atea’s website it says that Atea is the most sustainable company in the IT services category, according to the Global 100 index survey published by the Toronto-based research company Corporate Knights. This makes Atea the leader in the industry and number 51 in the overall ranking.
Five years ago, Atea launched the Atea Sustainability Focus (ASF). Since then, every year the initiative has published a report with recommendations to the IT-industry on how to accelerate sustainable transformation on a specific topic material to Nordic IT buyers. The last couple of years, circular IT has been top of mind.
Camilla Cederquist is the Atea Sustainability Focus Project Manager.
Camilla, why was ASF started?
In 2014, Atea initiated the Conflict minerals appeal where 300+ Nordic organizations vowed to push for more responsible sourcing of minerals. This made us realize that our position in the ecosystem – right between the global IT industry and a large network of Nordic IT buyers – provides us with a golden opportunity to drive change on a scale that is beyond what a single company can do. With ASF we give the Nordic buyers a combined voice to communicate their expectations on the industry, while providing the industry with important intelligence from its most progressive market.
How has the work that ASF do progressed during these five years?
The industry has taken many important steps towards increased circularity where the ASF has been an important driver. As an example, following the 2019 report, the Responsible Business Alliance, which coordinates the sustainability work of the industry, co-founded the Circular Electronics Partnership together with World Economic Forum and other major stakeholders. Thanks to the ASF, Atea was invited to the initial workshops where we could provide unique information on the buyers’ preferences and pains.
The number of organizations that communicate their preferences through the ASF have tripled since 2017, so the engagement around sustainable IT is steadily increasing, and that puts even more power behind our words.
Also, to speed up change even more, and to create a market for sustainable IT, a number of organizations engaged in the ASF decided to create a network, Leadership for Change, where members have committed to make sustainability part of every purchasing decision.
Every year an ASF report is published, why and how is it the work done?
It’s an annual process based on a survey among Nordic IT buyers around their expectations and important focus areas. We then let a third-party firm do a gap analysis on where the industry is today on the most material topics. The ASF Advisory Board, a group of engaged buyers, reviews this material and develops recommendations to the industry on how to address these issues. This is summarized in the report which is handed over to the industry.
In this year’s ASF report the recommendations are:
“Using IT products longer is the best thing we can do for the climate and the environment. We must become better at taking advantage of the value of the products produced. We can do that today!
- The industry as a whole needs to develop standards around product lifespan
- Manufacturers need to work with buyers to find sustainable consumption models
- Buyers need to have internal policies that steer towards increased product life
What has been the industry’s reaction to this year’s report?
In March we had a big event, the ASF Forum, where we invited industry and buyers to discuss the report. My feeling is that the industry is grateful to get clear signals from the buyers. Now they know that extending the lifespan of IT products is the Nordic market’s highest priority. At the same time, this is a complex issue that is quite hard to navigate as it requires a whole new way of thinking. I hope that the report can help to unlock the potential in new solutions where resources are used more efficiently and where business is still thriving. I sense that the industry is really willing to rethink business models and engage in dialogue with buyers.
If you got to highlight 3 things from the report, what would that be?
First of all that we don’t have to wait for innovations or regulations. There are a lot of things that we can do already today if we focus on sustainable consumption instead of focusing on (less harmful) manufacturing. Product as a Service is for example a very interesting area.
Second, that this year the ASF Advisory Board included buyers in the recommendations. Previously, the recommendations have been directed entirely towards the industry, but with an increased focus on circularity the whole value chain needs to be included. That makes the report even more relevant, I think.
And lastly, that we should focus on solutions that are beneficial for all actors. That will make good things happen much faster than, for example, buyers putting requirements on the industry that will be perceived as too challenging or where profitability is low or distant.
Read the full ASF report 2022 here.
//Lisa Valinder Olsson, Communications & Sustainability Manager at Ingram Micro
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