Channel Partners Find Momentum for Their Sustainability Strategies Through Lenovo 360 Circle

Katelyn Hill, Global Communications Manager, International Markets
May 23, 2024 1:05 PM ET
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As Lenovo 360 Circle expands its community reach to channel partners around the world, participating members share their perspectives on emerging sustainability priorities, critical focus in ESG strategies for the year ahead, and how a collaborative community helps drive success.

For all the increased focus that companies have given to Environmental, Social, and Governance strategies in recent years, implementing a successful strategy around sustainable business practices still remains an elusive goal for many.

The lack of standardization in ESG data and key focus areas like circular economy and emissions reduction means that companies are often using different data sets, aiming for different goals, and navigating a diversity of regulations and policies with inconsistent outcomes and varying levels of effectiveness.

To put it simply – designing, adopting, and implementing a sustainability strategy for your business is a massive undertaking, and many companies often don’t know where, or how, to get started.

Lenovo is helping its global community of channel partners in their own sustainability journeys through the recent launch of its Lenovo 360 Circle community. A sustainability-focused community approach to ESG initiatives, Lenovo 360 Circle helps partners to align on common goals, best practices, and sustainability strategies to offer a collective approach to success as a group, rather than leaving each business to its own journey in isolation.

Since Lenovo 360 Circle opened to global channel partners in 2023, membership has surpassed 2,000 members across 43 countries worldwide, with participating partners ranging from ‘advanced’ with established success to beginners who are looking for inspiration and direction on where to begin their sustainability journey.

Virginie Le Barbu, Lenovo 360 Circle program leader and global sustainability director for international markets at Lenovo, says partners that have joined the community have found clarity and a sense of true direction amid the complex sustainability environment for businesses.

“Sustainability strategies are more effective and achievable when you have multiple parties aiming for the same ‘north star’”, she said. “Lenovo 360 Circle provides a clearer path for partners on what matters, what’s most effective, and provides a sounding board and sense of support because you’re surrounded by peers who are all speaking the same language.”

Partners agree.

“We’re all a part of each other’s ecosystem,” said Suzette Carty, head of global ESG for CDW. “Even though there’s competition, we all know that we need to make a difference not only for our companies, but for the world in general, and I think those two priorities lend themselves to us to being more open to working with each other. The common goal of making sure there’s a world for us – balancing the priorities for now and later – all of us are of this mindset and recognize that we’ve got to do it together.”

“Our participation in Lenovo’s 360 Circle has helped prioritize our ESG initiatives,” said Brian Hicks, senior vice president of product management and operations at Connection. “There are other participating partners that are well down the (sustainability) path, and it’s really helped accelerate our learning so that we can focus on the key actions we need to take. It’s been hugely valuable for us.”

Sustainability priorities are frequently shifting and evolving as the global environment changes over time. As many businesses have established target goals for sustainability initiatives for 2030, 2040, and beyond, Lenovo 360 Circle partners gather regularly in forums throughout the year to raise questions about emerging topics and give perspective on their own business challenges.

Among the top concerns in 2024: circular economy, reducing scope 3 emissions, continued standardization, and an increased focus on social responsibility.”

“As we get closer to the decade of 2030 to 2040 – we’re only 6 years from that 2030 date – we have to make sure that we have things like circular economy in place,” said John Gladstone, sustainability lead for Softcat plc. “I think the call-to-action has already been received from Lenovo, where we look at their asset recovery services work and the work they’re doing around circular economy and refurbished devices and really embracing it. I think 2024 will continue to see that advancement in circular economy and asset recovery services, and the education we see across the channel that it requires for our customers as well.”

“When I think about data, I think about the importance of us really coming together to drive standardization, share how we’re tracking that data, really get on the same page with that across our value chain, I think that’s really critical,” said Adam Rutstein, senior director for corporate citizenship and sustainability at TD SYNNEX. “The regulatory environment is evolving fast and furiously around the world. There’s lots of different requirements out there and I think part of the value of this group also is being able to come together so we can share how each of us are approaching that.”

“What I’m wracking my brain about is human rights,” said Beate Flamm, executive vice president of sustainable change at ALSO. “How can we actually prove that we follow up on human rights along the supply chain, more than just kind of passing the bucket (to suppliers) and saying ‘Can you confirm?’. Legal requirements, like the obligation to report on conflict minerals, that we all know are, up to a certain degree, in products. How can we find a way to manage that? I’m really talking about very, very concrete ways to solve very concrete requirements and problems, and this is where I’d love to focus on in this coming year.”

In the year ahead, Lenovo 360 Circle looks to continue the momentum by welcoming new members to add to the collective expertise of the community.

“Our next steps are very much focused on prioritizing and cultivating strategic partnerships to magnify our impact,” said Le Barbu. “As we move forward, we’ll be looking into topics of upskilling and reskilling individuals within our community, exploring how to better integrate sustainability into our go-to-market sales motions, and more, and we look forward to fostering that spirit of curiosity and creativity in addressing new opportunities, together with our partners.”

Partners can learn more about Lenovo 360 Circle and begin their journey by visiting the Lenovo Partner Hub.