Home » “Go Green or Go Home: Sustainability Opportunities for the Channel”

“Go Green or Go Home: Sustainability Opportunities for the Channel”

by Mohammad Ghazal

It’s no surprise that sustainability is front of mind right now for businesses given the increased pressure from and changes to governmental regulations which are urging businesses to update strategies to positively impact climate change. The recent outcomes from COP27 in Egypt also confirmed this (and will be taken further at COP28 in Dubai, November 2023).

In this digital age, technology and networking have a huge role to play in sustainability. To gauge confidence in sustainable networking transformation within business, Juniper Networks recently commissioned research with Vanson Bourne to conduct a survey of 650 IT decision makers (ITDMs) and 1,200 office workers across EMEA.

The research found that 83 percent of IT decision-makers surveyed in the EMEA region work for organisations that have already implemented or are currently implementing a sustainable network infrastructure policy. The research also suggests that support for this transformation is going to rise even further over the next few years. In fact, 86 percent of the IT decision makers and office workers participating in the survey agree they want to see more positive action from their organisation’s leaders regarding IT/networking sustainability in the next two to five years.

These findings are highly significant for the channel, as they demonstrate that many businesses have sustainability front of mind and will continue to take measures over the next few years to adopt a more sustainable infrastructure while forging ahead with digital transformation.

Two key areas of focus should be a priority for partners: firstly, how sustainable their own business is, i.e., re-evaluating the company ethos to include a sustainability strategy and considering the sustainability strategy of the vendors with whom they partner. Secondly, how resellers can support businesses through their journey toward adopting a sustainable network and what solutions can help businesses achieve that.

Developing a Sustainability Strategy

The sustainability issue has urged businesses to start looking at their operations in detail: their carbon footprint, their partners and what exactly they stand for when it comes to sustainable practices. Getting this right is crucial to ensure the business is making a positive impact on the planet, and it can profoundly help a partner’s reputation as customers are looking more at the ethics of a business before they agree to buy their products or services.

Partners should consider developing and implementing a clear sustainability strategy if they do not yet have one in place. Creating a strategy around sustainability enables partners to look at their current practices, supply chain and infrastructure, presenting an opportunity to identify areas of improvement and develop a clear implementation plan.

It can be tricky to know where to start, but many partners may have already started to implement some sustainable practices yet not have a clear trajectory set out. To help with this, government policies are now in place in many regions to encourage businesses to set sustainable goals. For example, the UK has pledged to be net zero by 2050. Businesses can explore objectives that align with wider goals like the UK’s “Net Zero by 2050” as well as looking into the “how” by discovering and employing practical ways to reduce carbon footprint, energy waste and explore ways of creating a circular ecosystem within their own business.

A great example of creating a circular ecosystem is the adoption of a product recycle scheme. Many technology vendors use methods of recycling old hardware that is” ripped and replaced” when a customer decides to upgrade their current infrastructure. Partners can either create their own recycle scheme, or get customers involved in a vendor’s scheme. Whenever a reseller is involved in a deployment of new infrastructure, the partner can offer the recycle option to the customer and work with the vendor to recycle the old hardware and even refurbish it for further use. A great example, is the Juniper Certified Pre-Owned programme, which uses remanufactured products which are guaranteed to work good as new. This scheme has saved over 160 tons of e-waste from landfill and an estimated four million pounds of CO2 since 2017.

Partners can also help extend the infrastructure life of a customer’s network by recommending that the customer invest in solutions that use the latest technology, reducing energy consumption to extend the life of the components overall. This reduces the need to rip and replace elements of the infrastructure so quickly.

As a partner, reseller or Managed Service Provider (MSP), it is also important to consider which vendors to partner with. A partner is an advocate for the vendor; therefore, the partner must ensure that their values are aligned. In terms of sustainability, partners should examine the company ethos of a vendor as well as their sustainability strategy. In addition, carefully considering how the vendor’s solutions can help or hinder sustainable goals is essential, as ultimately, the solution that the end-customer adopts will make an impact on energy usage and carbon footprint.

Supporting Customers on their Sustainability Journey

There is a real impetus for businesses to take action and update their networking infrastructure to a more sustainable model that will make a positive impact on their carbon footprint as well as their profitability, due to reducing overall costs and energy usage. Knowledgeable, informed resellers are likely going to be one of the first points of call when IT decision makers begin their sustainability journey.

Resellers have an array of vendor solutions available to them today that can create a tangible difference on a customer’s carbon footprint. Solutions that utilize technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), are shaping a new way to create network infrastructure in this ever-increasing digital age, which takes the data from the network operation and can intelligently predict future usage and adjust the energy consumption to fit specific needs. The design of a product can also greatly impact power consumption. Some of the latest Juniper solutions include design features such as more efficient cooling and the ability to turn off software functions and packet forwarding engines (PFEs), reducing power consumption by at least 61%. Over time, this can reduce the total cost of ownership (TCO) and make a progressive impact upon the overall carbon footprint of the business.

Partners who have sufficient knowledge of the impact of using the latest solutions to sustainably transform the network infrastructure will be a true asset to a customer who is looking to take practical steps to become more sustainable. Going back to Juniper’s market research, it’s clear that over the next few years, this is going to be something that businesses will likely need to implement, creating vast opportunities for partners who take the time to understand the benefits of creating a sustainable infrastructure.

Go Green or Go Home

Although the climate crisis is increasingly looming, it appears as though communities and businesses are entering into a new phase when tackling their contribution to the solution and are beginning to look at the issue pragmatically, rather than trying to ‘Green-wash’ or sweep the issue under the rug. The climate crisis impacts everyone, everywhere and this is both a risk and an opportunity to partners. Get it wrong and it could impact reputation and sales. Get it right, and customers will be flocking to those resellers and MSPs to gain an understanding of the right solutions and approaches to impact their sustainability goals positively.

The key focus for partners right now is to understand the sustainability issue and to begin implementing sustainable measures; not only is this good for their own business, but customers will look to partners that have the proven skills and knowledge around sustainability to help them on their own sustainability journey.

By Ben Fallon, Vice President, Global Partner & Commercial Sales

You may also like  | About Us | Careers | Privacy & Policy

 © 2024 ESG Mena