Next month I’ll be joining the Colt team at Gartner IT Symposium/Xpo, a four-day event uniting top CIOs and IT Executives in Barcelona. This year’s theme is ‘unleash possibility’, and within the leadership segment, sustainable business and ESG will be a key focus.
ESG is becoming increasingly important for all businesses. But in the tech sector, with its rapid pace of innovation, it’s now more significant than ever as advancements become ever more integrated into our lives.
The IT sector makes up over 2% of global emissions, but this is predicted to rise to 15% by 2040. This is why every tech company needs to have ESG at the core of its strategy like ours and CEOs need to continue to push their businesses to meet their ESG targets. We have the ability to make a huge difference sustainably in this industry.
But one of the biggest technological challenges for businesses working to embed ESG into their operations is a lack of quality data. This is one of the key issues on my mind, one that we’re regularly talking to customers about and one that will likely be on the agenda in Barcelona.
We are on a journey at Colt, and the last few years have been about ensuring that we have the foundations in place to be able to monitor and measure carbon emissions from across our operations and value chain. To date, between our 2019 baseline and 2022, we have managed to reduce our emissions by about 30% across all three scopes. You can find more detail on this in our latest sustainability report.
Data measurement challenges across the board
We have improved how we collect data and have reduced the number of estimated data points at Colt, which now means that we are gathering more accurate data than ever before. But data collection is not without its challenges.
We still find ourselves manually collecting some data points and that’s why, over the next 12-18 months, we will be looking to deploy an ESG data management system. This will drive the simplification and automation of data collection to enable us to more proactively identify gaps and further errors for improvement, as well as reduce the need for human intervention.
At Colt (and for many businesses), a lot of our emissions come from our supply chain, which is why companies need to work together to achieve accurate data collection. It’s also vital to work with suppliers who share the same ESG goals. For example, we have identified that 70% of our top ten suppliers already have a science-based targets or are registered as committed on the science-based target initiative website.
But the collection of supplier-specific emissions is actually quite a difficult task, and one I believe can only really be tackled through a collaborative business ecosystem. We have created a supply chain reporting dashboard through Power BI which feeds in key metrics and targets from the EcoVadis platform as well as CDP scores and some supply-specific emissions where available.
We also use a carbon calculator and next year, we will look to pilot life cycle assessments. All of this work benefits our customers (who now demand ESG credentials) as we drive continual improvement through our own business, supply chain and through the ecosystem. It gives those who work with Colt the reassurance that we can provide accurate data when it comes to how we allocate their Scope 3 emissions.
We feel it’s important to make sure that we’re using the most up-to-date standards and frameworks. The challenge right now is that there isn’t a standardised approach to calculating product/service-based emissions. So we feel this is an area where the sector should be partnering and working together so that we can compare like for like. We need to avoid looking at this in silos.
If you would like to discuss this topic further or find out what else we are doing in the ESG space and where we’re heading, you can simply book a meeting slot. I will be attending the Xpo from 7-8 November.
The Garter IT Symposium/Xpo™ 2023 conference takes place between 6-9 November at the International Barcelona Convention Center in Spain.
Written by Claire Coulson, Environmental Sustainability Manager at Colt
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