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U.S. IT Channel Partners Trail Europe on Sustainability

There’s a clear gap in efforts around sustainability among U.S. partners, says Canalys.

Christine Horton

November 23, 2022

3 Min Read
Sustainability
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U.S. channel partners are trailing behind Europe on sustainability, according to analyst firm Canalys.

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Canalys’ Rachel Brindley

“You do see disparity between partners that are headquartered in the U.S. versus those that are headquartered in Europe,” said Rachel Brindley, senior director, channels, at Canalys.

There are several reasons for this. One is that the regulatory environment in Europe is more mature than that in the U.S.

“The European Union has got various regulations in place, but each individual country in Europe has different regulations as well. For example, in France, there’s a regulation where at least 30% of public sector RFPs must contain refurb equipment. Those things are really driving partners’ customers to focus on sustainability in their technology procurement. That is making a huge difference between the European and the North American market,” said Brindley.

Regulation isn’t the only driver, though.

“It’s the social side of employees wanting to work for a sustainable organisation,” Brindley said. “Particularly, the younger generations expect their organizations to be sustainable, and they’re very focused on that. [Also] customers wanting to be partnered with an organisation that has its sustainability strategies. It’s also its branding, for some companies; to say, ‘We’re sustainable.’ That’s important.”

Customers Pushing Channel Partners on Sustainability

Momentum around sustainability is being driven by customers rather than partners, emphasized Brindley.

“They now have very clear sustainability strategies and targets that they need to meet. They’re pushing that down to their partners, which in turn is building through into distribution but also going back upstream into the into the vendor community.”

According to research by Canalys and Schneider Electric, 75% of European partners already have at least one person focused on ESG (environment, social, governance). More than 75% of customer RFPs have sustainability criteria included.

While some U.S. partners are catching up, leadership in sustainability is coming from the likes of European players like Atea and Bechtel.

Kristian Kerr, VP, EMEA & LATAM partner organisation at NetApp, agrees that more partners are investing in sustainability practices.

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NetApp’s Kristian Kerr

“Probably half of the partners I speak to are building or have a practice to support customers from a consultancy standpoint. It’s also looking at efficiencies of what kit they have, in which data centers, which is burning and consuming power? How can they optimize that infrastructure? How can they lean into the cloud?”

Monitoring Power Consumption

At the Canalys Channels EMEA Forum last month, analyst Alistair Edwards urged partners to help their customers urgently reduce energy consumption and improve efficiency.

Rising energy prices and the need to focus on consumption and monitoring are opportunities for channel partners, reiterated Brindley.

“Particularly with the macroeconomic situation, being able to manage and understand which devices or infrastructure is draining energy and how you can make those more efficient,” she said.

David Terry is VP, IT channels, Schneider Electric, Europe.

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Schneider Electric’s David Terry

“With greater focus on IT channel ESG commitments, now is the time for partners to double down on sustainability efforts,” said Terry. “Energy optimization, energy efficiency and managed power services all present key opportunities for partners to differentiate and drive market share.”

Said Brindley: “We do think that if partners aren’t developing their sustainability strategies, they will be at a competitive disadvantage moving forward.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Christine Horton or connect with her on LinkedIn.

 

About the Author(s)

Christine Horton

Contributing Editor, Channel Futures

Christine Horton writes about all kinds of technology from a business perspective. Specializing in the IT sales channel, she is a former editor and now regular contributor to leading channel and business publications. She has a particular focus on EMEA for Channel Futures.

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