Dell urges EU states to make €45bn in IT spend more sustainable

8 Mar 2019210 Views

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Sustainability needs to be a higher criterion than the cheapest price, says Dell.

Tech giant Dell has called on European governments to capitalise on a major opportunity to use their buying power in a more sustainable way.

According to Dell, the public spending power in the European Union (EU) is around €1.8trn per year, with IT spending expected to account for €45bn of this by 2021.

‘Dell Technologies has seen first-hand the business and environmental benefits of a circular approach; it’s a win-win, reducing energy demand, costs and environmental footprint at the same time’
– LOUISE KOCH

Dell said that by collaborating to make sustainability a priority, European states will get to improve their environmental and social outputs, and at the same time reduce the total cost of ownership of purchased products and services.

Sustainability should always trump price

The linchpin is to place sustainability at the top of buying criteria, even above price.

“Dell Technologies has seen first-hand the business and environmental benefits of a circular approach; it’s a win-win, reducing energy demand, costs and environmental footprint at the same time,” said Louise Koch, corporate sustainability director at Dell EMEA.

“By working in close partnership with the Responsible Business Alliance (RBA) and European governments and businesses, we can accelerate efforts to address increasingly critical issues, including the fight to address climate change.”

However, while the European Public Procurement Directive of 2014 has been transposed into most EU member states’ national law for about two years now, European Commission (EC) research has found 55pc of public contracts in the EU are still awarded using lowest price as the only criterion.

Dell is calling for a three-pronged strategy that involves the EC issuing specific guidelines, EU member state governments adopting a sustainability-by-default principle in buying criteria, and the IT industry engaging with the EU and governments to share best practices.

“As demand for technology increases globally, there will be a need for more partnerships within and outside of the IT industry to improve standards and practices, and strive for a more sustainable future,” said Aongus Hegarty, EMEA president for Dell EMC.

“Public procurement provides just one example of an important untapped opportunity to drive sustainability at scale, in alignment with international standards and industry best practice. That’s why we have chosen to advocate actively on this with key stakeholders and are launching our call to action today.”

Updated, 3.33pm, 8 March 2019: This article was updated to amend an error that cited yearly public spending power in the EU in dollars; the correct figure is €1.8trn, not $1.8trn.

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com