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5 Dos and Don'ts of Sustainable IT Sourcing and Vendor Selection

5 Dos and Don'ts of Sustainable IT Sourcing and Vendor Selection

Technology today has become an integral part of our lives, driving innovation and shaping how we live and work. However, as our reliance on technology grows, so does its environmental impact. According to research by Allianz, the information and communications technologies (ICT) sector would be responsible for 830 MT of CO2 emissions by 2030, assuming the emission intensity of electricity used remains unchanged.

This is why organizations are increasingly becoming conscious of prioritizing environmental sustainability. One way to mitigate the technology's environmental impact is by responsibly procuring and selecting IT products and vendors. By making conscious choices and implementing sustainable strategies, you can harness the power of technology while minimizing its environmental toll.

Sustainable IT procurement practices have emerged as powerful ways to minimize carbon footprints, reduce e-waste, and foster a more sustainable future. However, when it comes to eco-friendly IT adoption and procurement, your organization must consider several essential dos and don'ts.

In this blog post, we will explore the top five dos and don'ts of green IT procurement, helping your organization develop strategies for making informed, sustainable choices.

Dos of Sustainable IT Sourcing and Vendor Selection

1. Do establish clear sustainability criteria

During the asset procurement phase, define clear sustainability criteria and green procurement policies that align with your organization's environmental goals. These criteria should encompass factors such as devices' energy efficiency, repairability, reusability, carbon emissions, and overall IT asset lifecycle management until disposal. Without clear sustainable policies and guidelines, individual departments or employees may make ad hoc decisions that fail to align with your organization's sustainability goals.

Also, setting up these criteria and policies facilitates the evaluation and selection of responsible IT assets and vendors.

                                                         Watch Webinar:

           Implementing Sustainable ITAM (IT Asset Management) Strategies in 2024


2. Do prioritize energy-efficient products

When procuring IT hardware, prioritize products that meet stringent energy efficiency standards, such as ENERGY STAR or EPEAT certification. These certifications ensure that the products meet specific energy consumption, material selection, and end-of-life management criteria, contributing to a reduced environmental footprint.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ENERGY STAR-labeled computers use 30-65% less energy.

3. Do evaluate vendors' sustainability practices

Beyond IT assets, assessing vendors' overall sustainability practices is crucial. Look for vendors with robust environmental policies, transparent reporting, and a commitment to reducing the carbon footprint throughout their operations and supply chain. This holistic evaluation ensures that your organization partners with companies that share your commitment to sustainability.

Zones is certified with ISO 9001, 14001, 45001, and R2v3 to provide quality, environmental management, safety, and sustainability in end-to-end technology solutions and IT supply chain services.

Also Read: Achieving Sustainability and ESG Excellence in IT: Zones’ Journey


4. Do prioritize local sourcing

Local sourcing can contribute to a more sustainable IT supply chain. Partnering with suppliers closer to your business location can help cut emissions associated with transport and logistics. Also, selecting an IT vendor closer to your business can contribute to better and faster availability of support and maintenance of equipment.

With 16 Technology Solution Centers (TSCs) spread across the U.S. and other international geographies, Zones helps businesses reduce transportation emissions by delivering, installing, and deploying hardware from the nearest TSC.

5. Do consider eco-friendly packaging

When procuring IT products, it's essential to consider the environmental impact of packaging and shipping practices. Look for vendors that prioritize sustainable practices, such as right-size packaging and recyclable or biodegradable materials. Additionally, choose vendors that have implemented low-emission shipping methods or offer carbon offsetting initiatives to counterbalance the emissions associated with transportation.

Zones prioritizes 100% eco-conscious packaging with customized sizing and consolidated shipments to avoid wastage of raw materials and reduce footprints.

Don'ts of Sustainable IT Sourcing and Vendor Selection

1. Don't overlook asset lifecycle management

When procuring IT products, it is essential not to overlook the importance of asset lifecycle management. Avoid vendors that offer limited support for upgrades, repairs, or end-of-life recycling options. Instead, prioritize vendors that provide comprehensive IT asset lifecycle services, ensuring that your IT assets are maintained, refurbished, or responsibly recycled at the end of their useful life.

Watch Webinar:

ITAD Strategies to Drive Your Sustainability Goals in 2024


2. Don't ignore the embodied carbon of tech products

When evaluating tech products, it's crucial not to overlook their embodied carbon footprint. Embodied carbon refers to the greenhouse gas emissions associated with a product's manufacturing, transportation, and disposal. Prioritize vendors that transparently report and actively work to reduce the embodied carbon of their products through sustainable sourcing, efficient manufacturing processes, and responsible end-of-life management.

3. Don't neglect data center and cloud services

Data centers significantly contribute to the tech industry's carbon footprint, consuming vast amounts of energy for power and cooling. When adopting new technologies or services, consider the environmental impact of the associated data center operations. Prioritize vendors with sustainable data center practices, such as energy-efficient cooling systems, renewable energy usage, and advanced power management strategies.

4. Don't fall for greenwashing

Greenwashing, the practice of making misleading or exaggerated claims about environmental sustainability, is a common concern in the tech industry. Be wary of vendors that make unsubstantiated green claims without providing transparent data or third-party certifications. Conduct thorough research, verify claims, and demand clear evidence of sustainability efforts.

5. Don't compromise on security and compliance

In the pursuit of sustainability, it is crucial not to compromise on security and compliance standards. Ensure that the green IT products you procure meet all necessary data protection, privacy, and regulatory requirements. Prioritize vendors that have robust security practices and can demonstrate compliance with industry standards.

Embracing Best Practices and Industry Partnerships

To further strengthen your organization's green IT procurement and vendor selection efforts, consider embracing industry best practices and forming strategic partnerships. Organizations such as the Sustainable Procurement Leadership Council (SPLC) and the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT) provide valuable resources, guidelines, and certifications to help businesses make informed, sustainable decisions.

"Sustainable procurement is not just a moral imperative; it is a strategic business decision. By prioritizing eco-friendly IT products and services, organizations can reduce costs, mitigate risks, and gain a competitive advantage in an increasingly environmentally conscious market."

- George Ganas

Sr. Director, Global Technology Solution Centers

Ready for Sustainable IT Sourcing?

Implementing green IT procurement and vendor selection practices is a critical step toward building a sustainable future. By adhering to the dos and don'ts outlined in this blog post, organizations can make informed decisions that minimize their environmental impact while fostering long-term growth and profitability.

Additionally, partnering with IT service providers specializing in sustainable solutions can offer expertise, guidance, and access to cutting-edge technologies and practices. These partnerships can accelerate your organization's sustainability journey and ensure alignment with industry standards and emerging trends.

At Zones, we understand the importance of environmental sustainability and are committed to supporting our clients' green IT initiatives. We provide sustainable services and solutions to help organizations navigate the complexities of achieving green IT.

Are you looking for a sustainable IT partnership for all your IT infrastructure needs?

Get in touch with Zones.


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