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How we’re championing environmental sustainability

Insights Sustainability

Westcon-Comstor news

As climate change becomes more urgent, we’re working tirelessly to find innovative solutions to reduce our environmental footprint. But what is sustainability in business, and how does environmental sustainability affect our business?

Protecting our planet plays a crucial role in how we deliver Partner Success. Our partners rely on us to operate responsibly and ensure our suppliers are reducing their environmental footprint.

Similarly, our employees want to be part of a company that genuinely makes a difference. This extends to their wellbeing, as a healthier planet means cleaner air, safer communities, and better lives for our people and their families.

Regulations also mean responsible environmental practices are non-negotiable. We’re going above and beyond to meet those and showcase transparency, not only because it’s a requirement, but because we take our role seriously.

But beyond all this, there's something bigger at play – a sense of duty. With the climate crisis intensifying, it’s our responsibility to act. That’s why we’ve set a series of ambitious science-based targets and commitments that will help us make a meaningful difference.

Our sustainability journey so far

In our 2022 financial year, we established our emissions baseline so we could identify hotspots requiring action.  

We later used these insights to set emissions reduction targets, focusing particularly on our supply chain. We then launched a data management platform that provides a consolidated view of our emissions and consumption, so that we can track our performance against the targets we’ve set. 

We also:

Tackling climate change

Tackling climate change is a key responsibility for our business. It fulfils our ethical duty to support the environment and promotes the longevity of our organisation. As the challenges facing our planet become more urgent, we’re focusing our efforts on finding innovative solutions that reduce our environmental footprint. 

We’ve mapped an ambitious path to combat climate change, and through the support from our sustainability partnerships, we’re promoting a sustainable supply chain

In FY23, we completed a scoping assessment to identify and estimate all relevant Scope 3 emissions categories (indirect emissions that happen in our value chain) to use as our baseline for future emissions reduction initiatives. This helped us pinpoint the most significant areas to focus our efforts.

Circular technology

By enabling circular technology and reverse logistics, we help our partners reduce waste and add value by recycling refurbished equipment into the IT economy, meeting end-customers’ growing needs for responsibly produced IT. 

Our primary approach is to extend the lifespan of existing equipment where possible. We do this through our refurbishment and re-use program. We also support delivery of authorised remanufactured equipment as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to new equipment.

Electronic waste, or ‘e-waste’ is one of the world’s fastest growing waste streams, producing over 50 million tonnes annually since 2017. This is projected to double to over 120 million tonnes per year by 2050.

Unfortunately, only about 20% of e-waste is recycled appropriately, and this has significant environmental consequences, including contamination of air, soil, and water. Common chemicals found in these products, such as nickel, lead, and mercury, pose serious health risks.

Additionally, from a resource perspective, many valuable metals and minerals present in these products are lost and never recovered.

Repurposing existing network equipment is a significant challenge in our industry. Embracing the principles of the circular economy, we’ve made it our responsibility to work with our partners to move away from the traditional ‘take, make, waste’ linear approach to a circular model.

In this model, products are reused, repaired, and repurposed, with materials recovered and any remaining waste disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

How we’re supporting the circular economy

Working alongside our vendors and partners, we’ve developed a number of bespoke ‘reverse logistics’ programmes. For example:

  • When customer-owned networking equipment has reached the end of its useful life in the field, we facilitate the return of the equipment to our facilities. Here, we assess, clean, re-box, and make it available for re-use in another setting. By extending the life of this equipment, we not only reduce the demand for new equipment but also provide significant cost savings for our partners
  • We offer ‘blended’ solutions, which combine new equipment with approved vendor remanufactured equipment. This remanufactured equipment matches the quality and functionality of new equipment, helping us reduce the environmental impacts associated with manufacturing new devices
  • When equipment has genuinely reached the end of its life, we pass it to authorised IT recyclers for maximum resource recovery and environmentally friendly handling of residual waste. In FY23, we disposed of an estimated 15,000kg of electrical equipment.

Looking ahead

We aim to continuously prioritise sustainability and improve our approach to our environmental responsibility.

Our key focus in our 2024 financial year is to improve data quality and capture. This includes capturing key Scope 3 emissions categories in our upcoming data dashboard, improving our ability to collect and report data related to general office waste across our operations, and prioritising data improvements for our supplier data (focusing particularly on their products).

We’ll also be rolling out new emissions reductions initiatives involving internal and external engagement, including a review of our vendor onboarding process and an inaugural Employee Commuting Survey.

Finally, we’ll be engaging with vendors as we start rolling out our new supplier risk management framework, which we’ve converted to a self-assessment format for the first time. We’ve also extended its coverage to include labour and human rights topics.  

Discover more about how we protect our planet in our latest Responsible Business Report.

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