With IT equipment central to the lifeblood of most companies today, at Leasing Life we wanted to talk to an IT services expert committed to the asset finance sector but with an ecological outlook.
3stepIT offers life cycle management to help clients acquire IT equipment, manage its use and oversee its refurbishment and transition to its next use or application. The company employs about 500 people in 10 countries. Its headquarters are in Finland.
Carmen Ene is the company’s chief executive and from her beginnings in cybernetics in Romania, Ene has built a career in IT and champions circular economy initiatives, such as her recent venture with BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions. About 3stepIT she said: “Our mission is to enable the most advanced IT life cycle management while striving to make the circular economy a reality.”
3stepIT was a Sustainability finalist at the Leasing Life Awards 2019.
Athena Chrysanthou asked Ene to share her thoughts on how climate change fits with the company business model, if asset finance is moving with the times and how measuring ‘green’ outcomes is needed.
What policies or strategies does your company have in place to manage climate change?
Our company business model is built around the idea of the circular economy. The objective is to extend the lifetime of every device that we manage, through its ‘first life’ and giving it a ‘second life’ by refurbishing and re-using the asset. We resell 97% of the devices that are returned at the end of the lease.
Every time a device is reused, we displace the manufacture of a new device. As most of the carbon footprint of a device over its lifetime is produced in its manufacture, this makes IT more sustainable. We like to think we are making the planet more sustainable, one device at a time. 3stepIT is a signatory of the UN Global Compact that has established 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We make decisions internally based on sustainability principles and we
involve our employees in a ‘walk the talk’ effort to make their own lives more sustainable.
Is the world of asset finance and leasing immune from climate change pressures?
No, we are not immune. Climate change is an urgent pressure, but I think it’s broader than that. The success of companies over the long term is inseparable from the societies in which they operate. So carbon footprint is important, so is e-waste (our fastest growing waste stream) so are single-use plastics. You need a broad strategy to address sustainability on all fronts and this cannot be achieved by one company or one country or one government it needs the deep and active participation of every individual on our planet. We are already seeing companies making investment and purchasing decisions based on sustainability credentials and therefore having the right profile will become more than a competitive advantage, it will become a pre-requisite.
Does your business currently apply any environmental metrics when writing new business?
Yes, we do, and it is implicit in our business model. Specifically, we price and manage assuming an extended life cycle of the product. Achievement of our sustainability matrix is the only way we can make the returns that we built into the new business that we write. An increasing percentage of our business in the Nordics is being written with customers who include EcoVadis rating in their RFPs (requests for proposals). EcoVadis is an accreditation organisation that helps companies to measure and report on sustainability in their supply chains.
RFPs arise, for example, when governments organise public tenders in an effort to define their requirements and also the documentation that potential participants need to deliver to qualify. All documentation submitted by participants is evaluated and taken into account, together with the offer, to choose the winner. In the Nordics we are seeing more frequently a requirement for participants to submit their EcoVadis rating as documentation. To this end, these credentials offer a competitive advantage today but they will become the norm in the future when tender participants may not qualify if they fail to produce proper sustainability credentials.
In other words, people will want to do business only with companies that respect and have clear environmental policies, sustainable business and social policies.
Who is EcoVadis?
EcoVadis is a provider of business sustainability ratings, intelligence and collaborative performance improvement tools for global supply chains.
Backed by a powerful technology platform and a global team of domain experts, EcoVadis’ easy-to-use and actionable sustainability scorecards provide detailed insight into environmental, social and ethical risks across 198 purchasing categories and 155 countries.
There are more than 60,000 businesses on the EcoVadis network, all working with a single methodology to evaluate, collaborate and improve sustainability performance to protect their brands, foster transparency and innovation, and accelerate growth.