How Partners Can Thrive in the Changing Sustainability Landscape

To thrive, evaluate performance, leverage partnerships, do due diligence and track your carbon footprint.

Adam Rutstein, Senior Director, Global Responsibility

May 3, 2024

3 Min Read
Partners benefit from sustainability

Companies of all sizes are facing a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape around corporate citizenship and sustainability. The Securities and Exchange Commission's recent efforts to publish disclosure requirements and the EU's Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) have highlighted that companies have even more change to navigate in this space.

Triple-Digit Demand for Sustainability Expertise

As complexity increases, so, too, does the demand for talent that can help businesses adapt. In fact, the latest TD Synnex Direction of Technology Report found that the importance of environment, social and governance (ESG) expertise among partners jumped 125% over the previous year.

As a global company reaching more than 100 countries, we're developing our corporate citizenship program to meet regulatory requirements while keeping our primary goal front and center: To make a positive impact on people and our planet.

For any business navigating its sustainability journey, we've discovered a few key universal principles to follow:

  • Proactively implement a system for capturing carbon footprint: Creating the infrastructure to accurately track carbon footprint cannot be done quickly, so evaluate your options sooner rather than later and find the right tool for your needs.

  • Conduct the correct due diligence: It's critical to understand what regulations and requirements apply to your business. If you don't have the right in-house resources to conduct this review, partner with someone with expertise in this area to avoid burning valuable energy chasing rules that aren't applicable to you and to make sure you don't overlook ones that are. Our first step in this process was to conduct a materiality assessment, which informed our corporate citizenship and sustainability strategy.

  • Leverage partnerships: Across the channel, vendors, distributors and partners of all sizes are building their own programs and have insights and learnings that can be shared with others. For example, TD Synnex launched a set of training and education resources that cover an array of relevant topics, including sustainability essentials, circular economy and carbon.

  • Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate: Part of a successful sustainability program is taking a regular and honest look at how the program is performing against its stated goals and how it is regarded in the industry. When you publish your goals, the market expects you to provide transparent updates on your progress. In fact, companies typically receive more favorable industry ratings for communicating that they are behind schedule against a goal than those companies that don't communicate their goals and progress. It's important to maintain a mindset of continuous improvement as you work toward your program goals.

Related:Google Cloud Sustainability Summit: New Programs, Tools for Partners

A critical piece of evaluating success is through the ratings provided by institutions such as EcoVadis, an assessment platform that rates businesses' sustainability based on four categories, and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which focuses specifically on environmental disclosure related to climate change. The evaluation can provide meaningful feedback on the gaps that exist in your program and help you identify what areas to focus on for improvements, so it's important to not just "check the box" on this process.

Related:Google Cloud Sustainability Summit: New Programs, Tools for Partners

Partner and Educate to Stay Current

Companies must navigate regional regulations that can vary widely and change quickly, while also staying aware of other regulations on the horizon. This fluctuation and change represent a continued opportunity for partners to evolve their ESG business offerings to meet these growing needs.

The first critical step here is education and partnership. Seek training and resources to educate yourself and identify partners that will help you on this journey. With the constantly evolving landscape, it's impossible to master this alone. Collaboration and information sharing will help you stay current on this important topic.

About the Author(s)

Adam Rutstein

Senior Director, Global Responsibility, TD Synnex

Adam Rutstein is senior director of corporate citizenship and sustainability at TD Synnex, where he leads the company's corporate citizenship and sustainability programs and strategies in areas such as decarbonization, energy usage, reporting and helping the company deliver on its goals to make a meaningful difference in the world. He previously served as the global director of corporate social responsibility at Newell Brands, a worldwide manufacturer, marketer and distributor of consumer and commercial brands including Rubbermaid, Mr. Coffee, Sunbeam, Oster and Sharpie. He holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Central Florida and an MBA from Lynn University.

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