Sourcing a successful strategy

How would you like to use sustainability targets to reduce carbon emissions by a third within a year and to produce tangible benefits for your business and its customers? eSource did. Business Development Director Andy Needham discusses how.

How would you like to use sustainability targets to reduce carbon emissions by a third within a year and to produce tangible benefits for your business and its customers?


That is exactly what has happened at IT services specialist eSOURCE, a firm that has strived to embed carbon reduction activities into its overall business strategy. eSOURCE Business Development Director Andy Needham says participation in the BT Climate Change Supplier Engagement Programme has been a crucial factor in the firm’s successful sustainability strategy. “People talk about green but they don’t necessarily understand what real sustainability is actually about,” he says. 


“Being green really means having a structure to change your business for the better and BT really helped us with that.”


In collaboration with the Carbon Trust, BT holds free, day-long workshops with its suppliers that are designed to help firms share best practice and create carbon reduction policies. Representatives from eSOURCE, including Needham, attended the very first BT carbon reduction supplier engagement workshop last year. The workshops focus on the actions organisations can take to identify and reduce carbon in their business. For eSOURCE, the session provided a moment of realisation. Needham and his colleagues recognised the organisation would need to take a much more structured approach to sustainability targets.


“If you can monitor carbon, you can mnage emissions,” he says. “If you don’t now what you’re actually using, how can ou say that you’re reducing carbon and meting targets?”


Immediately following the workshop,eSOURCE created a carbon survey of the business and looked to identify potential target areas. The resulting action plan concentrated on heating, air conditioning and lighting. Specific focus was also placed on the introduction of sustainable IT. Key target projects for eSOURCE included server consolidation, home working and paperless operations, via the introduction of document scanning and electronic communication.


The strategy received board-level support and eSOURCE has worked hard to ensure all employees are aware, engaged and trained in the carbon initiative. “We received full management buy-in and that was key,” says Needham.  “The executive team was able to see how going green would help produce a quick return on investment. They could see that sustainability saves money, helps the environment and looks great for our customers.”


Careful measurement and reporting helps eSOURCE to track progress, identify priorities and look for mprovement across key targets areas. For example, Needham estimates that automated technology has helped ensure as much as 80% of the firm’s operations are now paperless.


At a wider organisational level, eSOURCE started measuring carbon emission in July last year. The organisation is on track to reduce emissions by about 30 per cent, representing a saving of 10 tonnes of carbon annually. “Such a decrease represents a real cost saving in terms of heating, lighting and electricity,” says Needham. eSOURCE remains in close contact with BT and uses monthly support sessions to report progress and talk about future opportunities. The continuing sustainability achievements at eSOURCE chime well across the business, particularly with eSOURCE Managing Director Nick Coker-Davies. “BT helped us to set the right pace and working with the organisation has given us peace of mind,” he says. Most crucially, the approach helps eSOURCE stay one step ahead of its rivals and Coker-Daviesencourages other executives to create a sustainability strategy.


“If you have a green strategy, you have a real competitive advantage,” says Coker-Davies. “I’d recommend sustainability to anyone. As well as helping the planet, your business will gain clear financial benefits. Being green is a crucial standard for any successful business.”

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