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CIOs in an Ideal Position to Advance ESG Goals for Their Organisation

Environmental, Social and Governance, or ESG, is dominating board agendas at almost every public and private sector organisation. Underpinning the actions that come from ESG are significant concerns about the environment. Organisations are looking for ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, energy use and expenditure, drive towards ambitious sustainability goals, and make a positive social impact. Many are looking to align with the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

While the SDGs are helpful, many organisations find it challenging to know where to start. The key is to find a project or activity where the organisation can make a meaningful impact. This doesn’t have to be a major project but rather one that makes a sustainable difference. This is where technology has a significant role to play. New technologies are efficient and can make a substantial difference to energy use and carbon emissions.

Naveen Shettar, Director of Services at Logicalis Australia, explains: “Older technologies can use much more energy and result in greater carbon emissions than newer technology. Working with a service provider that tracks this is critical. This is why Logicalis measures our service against a sustainability score. It gives full transparency to the customer and to our operational teams so we can continually improve.”

Logicalis’ Global CIO report for 2023 found that 49% of CIOs look at carbon output, sustainability and energy efficiency when choosing new Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and suppliers. And 20% say this is an important consideration when choosing new partners. Choosing technology partners that simplify these needs is a critical step on the road towards meeting ESG goals.

Technology leaders have a significant role to play in choosing technology that uses less energy and reduces carbon emissions. However, that choice of technology should not just focus on the procurement process. Technology leaders must start looking at the entire lifecycle of the tools they acquire and ensure they collect data so they can measure progress towards their stated ESG goals.  

As well as choosing the best, most environmentally friendly infrastructure technology, CIOs can leverage new and existing efficiencies. For example, right-sized computer resources can be deployed and then scaled up and down as needed to meet demand. The funding and procurement of this technology can also boost ESG outcomes by partnering with a lease provider, like Quadrent, that takes a lifecycle view of technology acquisition, use, maintenance and disposal. 

“Australia generates 21.9 kilos of e-waste per capita per year. The global average is one third of that. We are one of the worst offenders in the world. Quadrent's Green Lease initiative ensures we manage technology assets at the end of their life in a corporate environment in line with our sustainability hierarchy of repurpose, refurbish, recycle and responsibly dispose (if needed). Additionally, up to 20% of the returned high-quality devices can then be donated to digital inclusion initiatives that improve digital equity for Australians in need,” says Simon Cubbin, the General Manager at Quadrent.

This initiative aligns with the UN’s SDGs and is independently assured by PwC to ensure it delivers the outcomes organisations demand. The primary goal is to create a circular economy that ensures devices are used for as long as possible and are responsibly disposed of when they reach the end of their life.

The Quadrent Green Lease is a straightforward entry point for organisations to start on their ESG journey as the assurance, logistics and reporting is already done for them.

As well as ensuring many devices receive a second life outside of the organisation, the Quadrent Green Lease program supports digital inclusion. While the E in ESG often garners the most attention, Quadrent allocates up to 20% of returned devices to digital inclusion initiatives that improve digital access and literacy for children in need. When organisations sign up to the Quadrent Green Lease with the Digital Inclusion option, children are ensured of a learning device and access to the internet, as well as technical support and knowledge on how to make the most of the technology they have.

While there is no shortage of intent from organisations to make a difference, the challenge comes with finding the time to administer the process, adding extra workload and complexity to already busy teams. The Quadrent Green Lease simplifies those challenges so organisations can focus on their core business and fulfil their ESG goals and aspirations.

“Today’s technology leaders must raise the conversation above technical details and focus on business goals. ESG requires transparency from all service providers and a laser-like focus on supply chains to ensure every device that enters the organisation has a thoughtfully considered lifecycle that starts with sourcing and ends at disposal,” says Shettar.

Logicalis, as one of the world’s leading managed service providers, understands the importance of sustainable technology. It has invested in tools, partnerships and technology that enable its team to focus on sustainability goals for itself and all its customers. This includes reporting on energy use and carbon emissions from its data centres and from the services it provides. Its partnership with Quadrent’s Green Lease initiative ensures the entire technology lifecycle for its clients is managed with a sustainability focus.

This article was created in partnership with Logicalis Australia and first appeared in the CIO Magazine.