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Schneider Electric Releases Independent Research Studies That Reveal Sustainability Action Gap

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Schneider Electric Releases Independent Research Studies That Reveal Sustainability Action Gap

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  • Reports and studies by three independent research firms indicate most of the IT and data center industry is at the beginning stage of a sustainability journey
  • 73 per cent of organizations in one study rank sustainability as their #2 business priority, but only 33 per cent say they have created a strategic sustainability plan
  • Schneider Electric commissioned the papers to help the industry better understand the maturity of sustainability initiatives
  • Studies released in full and discussed at Innovation Summit Las Vegas

Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, commissioned reports by three independent research firms which focused on sustainability in IT and data center operations and the results reveal a disconnect between intent and action, indicating most of the industry is still at the beginning stage of its sustainability journey.

See related articles: Walmart, Ørsted and Schneider Electric Announce First Cohort for Renewable Energy Supply Chain Program, Schneider Electric launches world’s first EV charger to keep energy bills and CO2 emissions in check

The three commissioned studies were conducted, separately, by industry leading analysts at 451 Research, a part of S&P Market Intelligence, Forrester Consulting, and Canalys. They collected data from nearly 3,000 global participants, including the largest colocation and cloud providers, IT solution providers, and IT professionals across many segments and organization sizes. The 451 Research paper revealed a perception-versus-reality dilemma with enterprise organizations believing their sustainability programs are more advanced than they are as “the maturity evaluations of nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents did not match a previous answer.” The Forrester Consulting paper focused on colocation and found that 73 per cent of respondents reported sustainability as a business priority for their organization, their #2 priority overall, but only 33 per cent say their organizations have created a strategic sustainability plan. The Canalys research determined that IT Channel partners are investing in sustainability strategies but are struggling to translate the investment into action and lack a clear answer on how to accomplish this goal. With 61 per cent of partners having dedicated personnel for sustainability, only a third have set ESG targets.

“The research clearly demonstrates that across the data center and IT industry, there is a sustainability action gap – the intention appears to be there but action is lacking,” said Pankaj Sharma, EVP of the Secure Power Divisions, Schneider Electric. “Of course, IT professionals understand and have taken steps to address sustainability. But what we lack, with some exception, is comprehensive and supported sustainability action plans and measurable targets to create the change required to address the climate crisis. These three research papers have documented a sustainability action gap and that is our collective challenge to address.”

Understanding the status of industry-wide sustainability initiatives

Schneider Electric commissioned the three independent research studies, and they were designed to help the industry better understand the maturity of sustainability initiatives. Here is a snapshot of each paper with a sample of the results and links to the full studies:

Analysts determined many enterprises believe they are further along in their sustainability journey than they actually are. For this group, the main driver of sustainability is business value and firms start with measuring energy usage then expand into other sustainability metrics and tools. The greatest challenges in their sustainability journeys include optimizing energy usage, followed by obtaining consistent data and metrics (for leaders/advanced firms) and lacking skilled staff (for starter organizations).

  • The thought leadership paper from Forrester Consulting: Reimagine Colocation Strategy With Sustainability Front of Mind. Researchers polled 1,033 global sustainability decision-makers at colocation providers worldwide with the objective of exploring sustainability drivers in the colocation provider industry. The study also explored the major challenges for colocation players and where they are investing the most across the technology stack.

The paper found organizations lack a strong comprehensive strategy for the sustainability programs with only 33 per cent saying their organization has created a strategic sustainability plan. This indicates that the industry is still at the beginning of a sustainability journey. The paper determined that moving forward, a key piece of sustainability success will be finding the right partner to help organizations succeed. It also found that organizations that hired an outside sustainability consulting firm as part of their sustainability initiatives are 33 per cent more likely to be high maturity.

  • Canalys: How can partners develop sustainability strategies? sought to understand the readiness of the global IT Channel Ecosystem in the sustainability journey by surveying 500 IT Solution Providers. The research defines the IT channels’ readiness and role in the wider ecosystem.

Canalys found that 60 per cent of those surveyed have dedicated ESG (Environmental Social and Governance) resources and 40 per cent expect revenue from sustainability solutions. While IT Channel partners are investing in sustainability strategies, they struggle to translate this into action, according to the eBook. The market research validates the need for sustainable end-to-end practices and solutions delivered by the IT and technology vendors.

Source: Schneider Electric


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