March 1, 2021

Sustainability still a top priority for businesses in spite of Covid-19 and profitability pressures

Sustainability remains a top priority for over a third (37%) of businesses, in spite of Covid-19 recovery and profitability concerns. New research reveals that organisations are even prioritising sustainability ahead of preparing for hard recession, growth plans, and managing post-Brexit challenges.

The survey of over 250 senior decision makers with responsibility for green initiatives across public and private sector organisations by leading UK ICT solutions provider, Stone Group, found that almost half (45%) of businesses have decided to take sustainability more seriously, while for 32% it continues to be a big focus.

Of the respondents that said their organisation was already implementing environmental initiatives, 53% said the main driver was ethical beliefs, and 41% cited cost benefits. The supply chain topped the list of green areas of focus for almost half (46%) of organisations, followed by facilities (39%), logistics (37%) and IT estate management of ageing hardware (36%).

The driving force behind these different initiatives appears to vary: 37% of respondents said their organisation have set up a ‘green task force’ to drive environmental change and a third said their organisation had appointed a sustainability manager. The research showed that sustainability efforts are typically led by or contributed to by those in senior management positions. Three in five respondents said their CEO was involved in their organisation’s green initiatives, while over half have managers (53%) or heads of departments (51%) involved.

The survey findings also indicate that organisations are starting to take a more sustainable approach to their IT estates, with 59% claiming to purchase refurbished hardware, and 31% claiming to use an IT asset disposal service. However, one in five respondents said they still send their old IT to landfill.

“It’s incredibly positive to see so many organisations taking steps towards becoming more sustainable. In fact, our research showed that the majority of respondents place sustainability even higher up the business agenda than preparing for recession, growth plans, and managing post-Brexit challenges,” commented Tim Westbrook, director at Stone Group.

The research shows that there appears to be a disconnect between the number of organisations that claim sustainability is important to them, and those taking real, effective action. 34% of respondents claimed a lack of resource is preventing them from moving towards their goals, while 31% said the cost of investment in initiatives is too high. However, Stone Group believes that excessive resources or investment aren’t always needed to make effective sustainable change.

Westbrook continues: “A sustainable approach to IT hardware purchasing and disposal is an area that should not be overlooked, and one where fast and widespread change is crucial, as 53.6 million metric tonnes of global e-waste was generated just last year alone.

“To help tackle this challenge, we’ve recently launched our Stone 360 e-waste recycling app, designed to make it easy for organisations to arrange collection of their redundant IT equipment, receive rebates, and have a tree planted on their behalf. All items are then taken to our dedicated IT asset disposal (ITAD) facility where they are securely recycled or refurbished. The app is designed to be quick and easy for organisations to use, while helping to significantly reduce their carbon footprint.”