News in the Channel - issue #16


your fellow businesses, it’s about sharing experiences, insights and knowledge to build a stronger value chain,” he says. “As part of an outcome-based market, manufacturers are no longer the conductor leading the technology channel orchestra, the end consumer is. Consumers are now demanding more from the technology channel and that starts with the products and the impact their production has on Scope 1 and 2 emissions. In addition, distributors are looking at ways they can extend the lifecycle of products by partnering with lifecycle service specialists to deliver a more sustainable circular economy that delivers transparent Scope 3 value chain reporting.” Giles Houston, head of global alliances at NSC Global, adds. “It’s a whole societal thing nowadays,” he says. “If you want to differentiate yourself in the market, then you’ve got to have something that’s really concrete to back up your words on sustainability. Anyone can greenwash but now it is a case of how you go about delivering against those statements. “From a manufacturer perspective, there’s always this dilemma: how do we present the circular economy, but at the same time make our numbers? So it is down to the channel to be the powerhouse of change, because we can earn money, whether we sell a new router for a refurbished or second-hand router.” Reverse logistics Some, such as Westcon-Comstor, have developed ‘reverse logistics’ programmes. For example, when customer-owned networking equipment has reached the end of its useful life in the field, Westcon-Comstor facilitate the return of the equipment to its facilities. Here, the equipment is assessed, cleaned, re-boxed and made available for re-use in another setting. There are also ‘blended’ solutions, which combine new equipment with approved vendor remanufactured equipment, which matches the quality and functionality of new equipment. Finally, when equipment has genuinely reached the end of its life, it is passed to authorised IT recyclers for maximum resource recovery and environmentally friendly handling of residual waste. In the 2023 financial year, Westcon- Comstor disposed of an estimated 15,000kg of electrical equipment. “By enabling circular technology and reverse logistics, we help our partners reduce waste and add value by recycling refurbished

equipment into the IT economy, meeting end- customers’ growing needs for responsibly produced IT,” says Mark McLardie, head of ESG at Westcon-Comstor. “Our primary approach is to extend the lifespan of existing equipment where possible. We do this through our refurbishment and re-use program. We also support delivery of authorised remanufactured equipment as a cost-effective and sustainable alternative to new equipment. “Electronic waste, or ‘e-waste’ is one of the world’s fastest growing waste streams, producing over 50 million tonnes annually since 2017. This is projected to double to over 120 million tonnes per year by 2050. “Unfortunately, only about 20% of e-waste is recycled appropriately, and this has significant environmental consequences, including contamination of air, soil and water. Common chemicals found in these products, such as nickel, lead and mercury pose serious health risks. “Additionally, from a resource perspective, many valuable metals and minerals present in these products are lost and never recovered. “Repurposing existing network equipment is a significant challenge in our industry. Embracing the principles of the circular economy, we’re working with our partners to move away from the traditional ‘take, make, waste’ linear approach to a circular model. In this model, products are reused, repaired and repurposed, with materials recovered and any remaining waste disposed of in the most environmentally friendly way possible.” Reseller role Resellers have an important role to play in encouraging businesses to recycle devices. For example, if mobile phones are being replaced in an upgrade programme, one barrier to overcome is a concern over data security, as device recycling specialist found out. “Resellers have an important role to play in explaining to businesses the benefits of recycling and encouraging them to consider putting devices they are replacing into the circular economy, benefiting the environment while helping them offset the cost of new devices,” says Aaron Brown, of “Businesses tell us that the number one issue they face in recycling devices is a concern about data security. “We launched WeBuyPro as a service that can go direct to businesses and partner

Arjan Paulussen

Recent highlighted the importance of sustainability to consumers with 26% indicating a willingness to boycott brands perceived as ‘unsustainable’. “ research by Epson

Taranpreet Rai



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