Working smarter, together to build an effective circular economy

Deborah Johnson
6 December, 21

The urgency of incorporating sustainability within a business model has created abrupt changes which are impacting every corner of the sector. The vision for a sustainable future is a growing priority for leaders, as the preservation of resources becomes an absolute necessity for the future of the planet. This vision is also being driven by COP26, which has created global conversation around climate change. Like many other industries, the Channel sector must now act by addressing difficult issues and changing the way they do business.

According to some estimates, the carbon footprint of our devices, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions. Therefore, the IT Channel must strive to create a circular economy where resources are used sparsely and recycled frequently.

However, this is not a goal that can be achieved in silos, as creating an effective circular economy requires Channel businesses to work smarter together to build a more circular and sustainable IT Channel for the future. Building a circular economy requires best in class collaboration amongst strategic eco partners that share the same goal to maximise resources and reduce waste at all stages of the product life cycle.

Collectively, the Channel must move away from a traditional linear economy and towards a system in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, maximise their value while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of their service life. The circular economy gives businesses the tools to tackle climate change and biodiversity loss together while addressing important social needs. It grants the power to grow prosperity, jobs, and resilience while cutting greenhouse gas emissions, waste, and pollution.

The future goes in circles

Traditionally, business has been based on competitive self-interest, and while collaboration seems to work against the core principles of “doing business,” the last decade has seen this change, with most advances taking place during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As sustainability concerns increase and are prominent on the global stage, collaboration has emerged as both an enabler and a necessity. Collaboration is now a key part of the transition to achieving a resilient and circular economy, yet the processes behind collaboration formation have not always been straightforward. Innovation isn’t born in isolation, and the need to align on the goals and risks that can arise from implementing new circular processes is crucial and should be shared throughout the Channel industry in order to find the best approaches and solutions.

Environmental issues are multifaceted, and those in the Channel may hold different opinions and values on how best to approach them, which can lead to conflict if the industry does not come together to discuss how they can make the sector more sustainable. With the technology sector leading the way in sustainable practices, this can only improve through forming partnerships to tackle how things are run from the inside out.

As mindsets for “doing business” change, the Channel has seen the focus shift to growing its value via circular business models, with collaboration playing a pivotal role in this. Strong leadership, a focus on collective gains and full transparency is now expected by end-users, with the right leadership and shared visions able to tackle early challenges and ensure the right people are involved in developing a circular approach and decision-making processes.

Collaboration in practice

By giving structure to daily business actions, the Channel can share purpose, develop a circular economy and be an inspiration to other companies embarking on their circular governance journeys.

Moving forward, businesses have both a responsibility and the opportunity to do better for their partners, people and the planet. Collaboration can lead to working with unexpected partners and even competitors who share the same vision, with recent research revealing that circular businesses perform better than linear ones. It’s no secret that collaboration is key to a circular approach, and that business as usual is no longer an option.

With some of the biggest organisations in the world calling for businesses to bring their practices in line with global climate targets, the use of collaboration will need to increase. In order for a partnership to be successful, it is necessary to get better at sharing knowledge and best practices so that it becomes more widely accepted.

With industries making the conscious effort to come together, the Channel is no exception, and many businesses are uniting in uncharted territory with multiple partners who share their unique visions and motivations. Connected by the challenges we now face, the Channel has come together to drive circular innovation and ensure that its end-users have a deeper understanding of the processes needed to make the changes possible. Only by being educated on the importance of forming partnerships over rivalry can we progress and truly implement the circular transition that will benefit generations to come.

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