Increasingly, partner success is defined by a broader range of measures that go beyond the commercial to embrace social, environmental and ethical impacts. Head of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Mark McLardie, explains how we’re leading the drive for sustainability in our supply chain and the wider IT channel.
Channel partners now recognise that purpose is as important as profit. However, this doesn’t make things easier, as they must now make difficult decisions, especially in their supply chain operations. At Westcon-Comstor we’re supporting them with the right resources, ratings and support to drive sustainable partner success.
As Head of ESG, I’m responsible for ensuring that we’re managing the risks to our business effectively, remaining compliant against a backdrop of ever-changing legislation and driving continuous improvement alongside our partners and vendors to create value in sustainability across the supply chain.
ESG and our business
ESG describes criteria commonly used to measure the sustainability and ethical impact of a company’s operations. In the context of ESG, sustainability means operating in a way to minimise any negative impacts on people and the planet.
For our business, ESG covers a wide variety of topics from greenhouse gas emissions and waste management, health and safety to diversity and inclusion.
Ultimately, we want to support a transition to a position where we’re consistently making a positive contribution within the environment in which we operate.
Sustainability as a value creator
Sustainability and environmental performance are quickly becoming key criteria in procurement decision-making, so we work alongside our vendors and partners to collaborate and develop new “value-add” sustainable services and solutions.
A great example of this is our participation in Cisco’s Digital Sustainability Challenge which launched this year. This new programme aims to reward partners who are developing solutions focused on helping customers tackle climate concerns and achieve sustainability goals, with cash prizes available for the winners to invest in bringing their solutions to market.
As well as helping to change perceptions within our own business, it’s the perfect platform for us to highlight opportunities to create “value” in sustainability through collaboration with partners and our vendors.
Reassurance of sustainable supply chains
We’ve been working hard to enhance our own sustainability performance and improve our score within the EcoVadis sustainability ratings platform. We were rewarded with a Bronze medal in 2021 for the first time and have set an ambitious target to attain a Silver medal in FY23 which would put us in the top 25% of all companies rated. The rating platform is the largest in the world for trading partners to share sustainability performance information with a view to increasing transparency and sharing best practice around ESG.
In addition to improving our own “green” credentials, this adds value to our channel partners because many are now having to include sustainability in their own RFPs. This allows them to demonstrate to their own customers that their supply chain is more sustainable.
Sustainability is key to partner success
As a key player in the supply chain, specialist distributors like Westcon-Comstor have an important role to play in the transition to a low carbon economy, and we have a big opportunity to support our partners given our unique experience with circular technology and reverse logistics programmes.
In the future, successful partners will be sustainable partners. We’re doing our bit to make sure those that take account of risk management, reporting and compliance across environmental, social and ethical factors will be the ones that thrive.