05/10/18
Editorial Insights
Environmental

Long-term sustainability for your business: a play in three acts

    

Image ©: unisci24When you’re looking to bring sustainability into your business practices—or to maintain an existing program—there are essentially three stages you will likely go through. But we feel the difficulty many businesses find in maintaining an environmental-responsibility program stems from the fact that sustainability was an add-on to an existing process, rather than a mindset driving the goal. If you change to a mindset of sustainability, however, those pains common to any ITAM program worth its weight will be for growing, not failing.

Act 1: The pain is real

The technology industry has been built on a tower of waste. From the mining of resources to the recycling of end-of-life electronics, the tech giants have created an empire out of moving fast and breaking things. And much of current businesses have been following suit. One of the premier ways we can see this is with a corporation’s ITAM program.

Left to its own devices, every IT Asset Management (or Disposition) program will discard end-of-life electronics to make room for more useful devices. It’s the reality of 20th century business efficiency. This, of course, is a pain for the planet. To take ownership, then, and add sustainability to the management of your IT assets, effectively absorbs that pain back into your company. 

But, with anything, there are going to be struggles and pain points. So, when those are experienced within a conscientious ITAM program, the key is to allow the struggles to be a sign of growth toward something better, rather than a call to kill the program. 

Act 2: It’s all in how you view it

This subtle nuance can make all the difference when you reach that third act of “Normalizing.” When an environmental-responsibility program comes under scrutiny of stakeholders and business owners, only those programs borne out of a sustainable mindset will remain standing. And, without holistic buy-in, any environmental sensitivity will be lost to the cry of profitability.

Is this because sustainability isn’t profitable? Well, we’ve built a business proving that’s not the case—even going so far as to show the world that, with an all-in approach to sustainability, the exact opposite is true. Rather, the stakeholder withdrawal is because investors and CFOs might not see the vision clearly. If, to them, the program was a nice-to-have, the savings gained are overlooked or simply undocumented.

Another force that might push marginally environmental companies off the mat is the need to upgrade. We’ve addressed the upgrade treadmill we all seem to be caught in in another post. But, when a business has to refresh their IT to stay competitive, the task of conscientious dispositioning is too high. IT is caught up in the training of the new equipment, and their downtime is already setting your business back.

Again, the nice-to-have sustainability program collapses under these kinds of strains. This is a tragedy on so many levels, since the electronics that are shuffled off to a recycler could be put to much better use either for existing employees (with an employee purchase program) or for the company bottom line with a reselling opportunity.

So, how do I breathe life back into my environmental program?

If your sustainability program is stalling out, there is one primary step to take to infuse it with life again. Reinvest in the vision. By uncovering the core reason your business has adopted a program in the first place, you can diagnose the next steps.

Those can be anything from communicating the core reasons to the company, as a vision-casting moment; to realigning the core to be more committed to sustainable business practices. In each of these exercises, you gain a deeper understanding of how your business relates to environmental responsibility.

It may seem like something you’d do on a retreat in the woods, but the introspection will yield the best results. The reason is simple: sustainability is so interconnected with everything your business does that it can’t be done half-hearted. If that’s how your business views it, your company needs to face that fact and do something about it.

Act 3: Sustainability abhors a vacuum

Thankfully, you aren’t alone when it comes to pursuing sustainability. There are plenty of vendors and service companies out there that have built their businesses on the backbone of sustainability. Both by proxy and by example, these companies can help your business achieve its sustainability goals. And, as we’ve seen, starting with your ITAM is an ideal way to get the green back in your cheeks.

Commit to sustainability for more than just because it’s trendy—a true sustainable mindset—and your business will have a long-term sustainability program worth celebrating. And capturing your ITAM or ITAD program with this vision will allow your business to make great leaps in being sustainable.

 

How does that sound? Is your company struggling to gain buy-in with its sustainability goals? Have you seen how doing a deep dive into the motivations behind your program can help clarify the program? Let us know what you’ve done to keep the momentum on your sustainability program by leaving a comment below!

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