It’s a new year and there’s no time to be faint-hearted
By Carmen Ene, CEO of 3stepIT and BNP Paribas 3 Step IT - January 17, 2022
Another new year has rolled around and it would be understandable if you didn’t feel ready to roll out of bed and get back in to it.2021 was another uncertain year and it’s clear 2022 has more surprises around the corner.
One thing is certain - the green agenda is here to stay. Alongside the Covid recovery, policy makers, corporates and the public have their sights set on tackling the climate crisis. Despite the UN’s warning last year that we face a “code red for humanity”, 2021 did give us cause for hope, with some big gains made. Not least of all was the concerted global effort to unite behind a net zero ambition, which sets the stage for some important progress this year.
So, what might 2022 have in store?
‘Greenwashing’ will be thrown out with the bathwater
Consumers are increasingly changing their purchase habits based on the environmental impact of what they buy, so it’s no wonder some companies turn to ‘greenwashing’ - tricking consumers into thinking products and services are more environmentally friendly than they are. 2022 will thankfully put an end to this harmful practice. As part of the Green Deal, the European Commission has been considering the Green Claims Initiative, whichwill ensure that “claims on the environmental performance of companies and products are reliable, comparable and verifiable across the EU”.Due to be implemented this year, this means organisations will have to put in place sustainable solutions that have a clear, measurable impact. For our customers, the introduction of ourSustainable IT Calculator and an end-of-life environmental report that shows the carbon and e-waste avoidance achieved by adopting more sustainable IT asset management practises, has been a welcome addition to our services. We’re increasingly seeing companies seeking the ability to accurately quantify the sustainability outcomes they’re achieving with our Technology Lifecycle Management service, so they can be celebrated and scaled.
The world will make the link between the circular economy and net zero
Is it too soon to mention COP27? Perhaps, but the next UN climate summit is being held in Egypt this year and promises to be another blockbuster event. World leaders know they will have to go further on commitments designed to keep us below 1.5 degrees of global warming, if we hope to keep the target in reach. We’re also due to receive the Sixth Assessment Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which will add further pressure to the mix. It’s clear the conversation will remain firmly on the net zero transition, but some big hurdles must still be jumped. The circular economy is the logical next step and we will increasingly see moves in this direction. For the technology sector, a shift towards reuse is essential. Last year, we prevented over half a million devices from reaching landfill by ensuring business technology is refurbished and reused after its first lifecycle. It’s a simple solution that every business can adopt, and that can be easily scaled to meet the sustainability targets of governments and large enterprise. It’s just one example of how the circular economy can answer some of the big questions on climate change, which is why we’re likely to see it have its moment in the spotlight this year as climate talks heat up.
Innovation, innovation and more innovation
Anyone who knows Finland, the home of our HQ, knows that the Fins love coffee. I wasn’t surprised to find that a Helsinki company has made a waterproof trainer made from used coffee grinds (perfect for our very long, wet winters). It’s a quirky innovation, but it meets a market need and a social need, a pattern we’re increasingly going to see this year and beyond. I’ve said before that the private sector is a hot bed of innovation and in the face of the climate emergency, it cannot be left to governments alone to solve the problem. We need the ideas, capital and influence of the corporate world and we need it now. My prediction is that we’ll see some exciting new inventions emerge this year, but also that we’ll see a more widespread adoption of existing innovative sustainability solutions. My focus this year will be on supporting as many businesses as possible to make the transition to sustainable IT management, to ensure we continue to reduce global emissions and electronic waste caused by enterprise IT. Big or small, every business can play its part by innovating for the future.
2022 is another big year for our planet. The business community already has a lot on its plate dealing with the impact of the pandemic, but this is not a year for the faint-hearted. We cannot stand still on the climate emergency. The world is moving forward, with regulation and knowledge and innovation. I believe we must act too. What are your predictions for 2022? What more can we do?