Among the market shifts to note: 41% of partners say sustainability has frequently influenced their vendor selection process in 2023, up from 23% in 2022.
However, trends vary greatly from region to region. Among the regional nuances to note: 55% of North America partners and 48% of Latin America partners are not yet tracking sustainability KPIs (key performance indicators), compared to 29% in EMEA and 34% in APAC.
Sustainability and Technology Partners: Key Research Findings
Here are 10 takeaways from the comprehensive Canalys report:
1. ESG regulations affect customers' IT decisions and procurement: 69% of partners in EMEA say ESG is having some impact or very significant impact on IT procurement. That figure is 67% in APAC, 47% in North America and 40% in Latin America, the Canalys research found.
2. Are there revenue opportunities for partners?: 53% of EMEA partners say it's extremely likely or likely that they will experience revenue opportunities from sustainability. The figure is 50% for APAC partners, 25% for North America partners, and 24% for Latin America partners.
3. Are customers asking partners about their sustainability strategies? 10% of partners hear that question all the time, and 38% hear it sometimes -- but 52% of partners rarely or never hear such inquiries.
4. Why are customers focused on sustainability solutions?: The typical answer involves government regulations (49%), followed by overall business strategies (47%), and improving energy efficiency (44%), the Canalys research found.
5. Which circular economy IT services do partners offer? The top circular economy services offered by partners include:
Takeback and recycle: 51%
Product repairs: 51%
Refurbish and resell: 39%
Energy optimization: 39%
Energy assessments: 35%
Procurement advice: 25%
Electric Vehicle (EV)-only deliveries: 7%
6. How do partners manage IT hardware asset take-back, recovery and recycling services?: The top responses from partners included:
We use vendors' services: 53%
We use a third-party ITAD (IT asset disposition) firm: 53%
We offer our own services: 47%
Distribution runs this for us: 28%
7. Are partners interested in product sustainability data from vendors? The short answer is generally yes. 49% of partners are interested in such data and would share it in customer proposals. Moreover, 45% of partners say such data affects their hardware procurement decisions.
8. What sustainability KPIs do partners track?: In EMEA, the top answers included:
Number of devices taken back: 41%
percentage of renewable energy used internally: 37%
Deals that have sustainability requirements: 31%
Waste recycling rates: 29%
Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions: 27%.
9. Staffing: Only 30% of partners have dedicated sustainability staff. EMEA channel partners lead the way (39%), followed by APAC (23%), North America (12%) and Latin America (10%).
10. Most partners have set their own goals: For 32% of partners, the business strategy is "fully aligned" with sustainability goals. Another 23% of partners have just set such goals. What about the remaining partners?
23% have started to think about sustainability goals
6% will think about such goals in 2023; and
17% have not thought about such goals at all.
Can Partners Achieve Their Own Goals, And What Are The Challenges?
Most partners expect to achieve their sustainability goals: Indeed, 49% expect to meet their sustainability targets. Another 16% is even more optimistic -- stating that they are "firmly on target" to achieve the goals within a stated deadline. Still 32% are unsure about their ability to meet deadlines, and 3% think they may not or definitely won't meet the goals, survey participants said.
Still, partners see multiple challenges on the sustainability front. The top inhibitors include inflation (33%), lack of control over vendor supply chains (30%), and prioritizing sustainability across teams (27%) are the top three issues that threaten progress on the sustainability front, survey participants said.