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Successful launch of Learning Academy: Best practices for IT procurement underway

For the first time, IT buyers from Vattenfall, IKEA, the City of Malmö, H&M, Electrolux and around 15 other organizations have gathered to develop "best practices" for circular procurement of IT.
Deltagare på Learning Academy

From the left: Filip Engholm Atea, Helena Babelon Elextrolux, Camilla Cederquist Atea, Cecilia Björnestedt SEB och Johan Reynols Södertörns Högskola.

The Learning Academy, as the event is called, is part of Atea's sustainability initiative Leadership for Change, where IT buyers use their collective purchasing power to support a sustainable transformation of the global IT industry.

– As far as we know, it is the first time ever that a large group of IT buyers from well-known organizations and various industries spend a whole day discussing how their purchases can contribute to IT becoming circular, says Camilla Cederquist, project manager in sustainability at Atea and the one that held the Learning Academy in early October.

Following up the summit in May

The event took place a little more than four months after the high-profile summit held in May where several of these IT buyers met world-leading IT manufacturers such as Cisco, DellEMC, HP Inc, HPE, Microsoft in a roundtable discussion on how the IT industry can become circular and climate neutral.

The Nordic countries' most concrete contribution to this is the Leadership for Change initiative, through which they work together to define the most effective methods for sustainable IT purchasing. The global IT industry is looking with great interest at how the trend-setting Nordic market is even more clearly showing the way for more sustainable IT.

– When the IT buyers now have discussed this in more depth, they will continue the dialogue with the producers. It is important to ensure that the measures have the desired effect.

Wants to measure the footprint from IT purchases

The IT industry accounts for two percent of total climate emissions while IT use continues to increase. Although IT and digitalization, on the other hand, are used to reduce the climate impact from the other 98 per cent, there is no doubt that IT itself must become more sustainable in several respects:

Climate-friendly production.

Better resource use overall.

Reduced electronic waste.

To name a few examples.

– During Learning Academy, it was discussed how buyers can best address these so-called hotspots through their IT purchases. Then, for example, it becomes important to be able to measure and understand the impact of purchases, says Camilla Cederquist.

Throughout the afternoon, the participants shared experiences and best practice to find together the most effective and functional methods for sustainable IT purchasing.
– The response we received afterwards was how valuable it was to exchange ideas, thoughts and experiences. We have laid an extraordinary foundation for developing best practices.

The dialogues continue – and best practices will be shared

The idea is that Learning Academy will be an annual event to continuously develop best practices in issues that are important to Nordic IT buyers. But dialogues between the participants are constantly ongoing:

– Leadership for Change is a network for IT buyers who want to make a positive impact. You can connect with like-minded people who feel just as strongly about sustainability issues and who struggle with similar challenges.
Next step? The idea is that the finished best practices will be used by the network members and also be made available to others in order to scale impact.

"Shared knowledge is double knowledge"

Camilla Cederquist summarizes the first round of the Learning Academy:

– There is something beautiful in the fact that IT buyers from widely different businesses collaborate in this way. For an event like this to be meaningful, all participants have to be transparent and willing to share, and that was really the case. Shared knowledge is double knowledge. It feels like we have put something exciting in motion.
This year's theme for the Learning Academy was circular procurement. Next year's theme has not yet been decided.

Camilla Cederquist
Camilla Cederquist Project Manager Sustainability