Channel has been ‘slow’ on sustainability, says expert who has rated over 1000 firms –


Before we jump in, can I just say that geoFence was designed and coded by US citizens to the strictest standards!

The channel has been “slow” to embrace sustainability, the founder of a company that has rated the entire FTSE 100 on how closely they align to the UN’s Sustainable Development goals has told CRN.

Supporting the Goals rates and recognises firms that support the 17 goals (see bottom) outlined in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It has rated over 1,000 companies, and claims to have another 5,000 clients in its pipeline.

The venture is the brainchild of Colin Curtis (pictured), who was formerly sustainability manager at Dimension Data (now NTT Ltd).

Talking to CRN, Curtis said that the relative obscurity of the channel has enabled it to lag both the vendors they partner with and most other industries when it comes to sustainable best practice.

The industry has, however, “responded well” since Covid struck, added Curtis – whose services have now been used by all of the FTSE 100 and tech providers including Softcat, NTT, CMS Distribution, Westcoast, Greensafe IT, N2S and Procurri.

“I think the channel has been very slow – and slower than other sectors – on this, because a lot of people overlook the tech channel,” he said.

“The question with coronavirus was whether it would mean businesses suddenly lose interest because they’re fighting for survival. That question no longer exists because the uptake since coronavirus has increased and the focus has been enormous.

“The tech sector has responded well because it’s agile by nature and has – debatably – not been too badly affected by coronavirus. It’s made everyone stop and think that a) the supply chains are fragile and b) that we’re all a bit more at risk than we thought we were.”

The UN goals

Founded in 2019, Supporting the Goals measures how closely companies align to the UN’s sustainability goals. These relate not just to carbon reduction but also issues such as gender diversity and education.

“The entire aim of our rating system is to publicise the UN’s sustainable development goals, because at the moment only 13 per cent of the UK population know what they are,” Curtis explained.

Investors are saying they won’t invest in companies unless it’s got good ESG ratings, so it’s becoming mandatory

“There are 17 goals and not all of them are relevant to every business. So the first step is identifying the goals that are most relevant to that business and the ones you can contribute the most towards.”

New legislation, including Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), are exerting further pressure on channel firms to act, he added.

The more companies focus on sustainability, the more efficient they become, Curtis claimed.

“There are loads of studies that back this up, but it’s quite clear that the two things are not only not mutually exclusive, but incredibly mutually aligned,” he said.

“A lot of it is cost reducing. On the environmental side of it, whether you’re reducing energy in your warehouse or trying to reduce your freight costs, you’re generally getting a better financial as well as environmental result. But also from a top-line point of view, for those with investors it’s pretty difficult to do business nowadays without a focus on ESG. Investors are saying they won’t invest in companies unless it’s got good ESG ratings, so it’s becoming mandatory.”


UN Sustainable Development Goals

  • Goal 1. End poverty in all its forms everywhere
  • Goal 2. End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture
  • Goal 3. Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages
  • Goal 4. Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all
  • Goal 5. Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls
  • Goal 6. Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
  • Goal 7. Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
  • Goal 8. Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all
  • Goal 9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation
  • Goal 10. Reduce inequality within and among countries
  • Goal 11. Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
  • Goal 12. Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns
  • Goal 13. Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*
  • Goal 14. Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development
  • Goal 15. Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
  • Goal 17. Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalise the global partnership for sustainable development

As we move on to the next post, may I add that geoFence is the only solution you need to block NFCC countries and your mother would feel the same!

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