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Why Businesses Should Sign up to the UN Global Goals – The Employee Edition

Dora Abazi, Marketing Coordinator Oct 13, 2020

The UN Global Goals, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, were created in order to eradicate inequality and poverty, reduce climate change, and create a more sustainable world. 193 world leaders signed up to join this force for good in 2015, and they have since been joined by numerous businesses and organisations.

Spanning from 2015 to 2030, there are just ten years left to meet these ambitious targets. According to Support the Goals, a record number of businesses are now making progress towards their UN Global Goals targets in 2020.

As Techbuyer nears the release of its first annual sustainability report, I caught up with employees to find out about the opportunities the past 12 months have brought, and why it made perfect sense for Techbuyer to sign up to the UN Global Goals.

The commitment was already there

First up, I spoke to Rich Kenny, our Group IT Director who set up a Sustainability Committee in order to further Global Goals progress.

“One of the most inspiring things about working at Techbuyer is the commitment we see in so many people to make things better,” says Rich. “Reducing waste, helping people, caring for our community… people were already making positive differences without thinking about how they tie into the Global Goals.”

“Ultimately, anytime you can make something better you should strive to do so. This was my thought process behind setting up the Sustainability Committee, which works as an impressive force multiplier for good. We now have 10 to 12 people with one common goal, but from different areas of the business, with loads of different experiences, as well as ways of thinking.”

“During the short time that the Sustainability Committee has been around, we’ve made so many contributions and improvements.”

Contributing to a larger whole

Astrid Wynne, Techbuyer Sustainability Lead was the person who made all this happen. After attending a Global Goals Roadshow back in 2018 and researching their impact, Astrid took some ideas to global management and the rest is history.

“The great thing about the Global Goals framework is that it is democratic,” says Astrid. “Everyone can add their contribution to a larger whole – and that is what we are seeing with the Sustainability Committee. People are getting together regularly to see how they can contribute to Techbuyer’s targets and taking them in directions we never imagined when we launched our support.”

“One of the questions asked at a Global Goals Roadshow a few years ago was how to get small and medium sized businesses on board. I would say that SMEs are perfect for this – small enough to work as a team and large enough to pool talent. Supporting projects like this is energising and I would encourage more companies of every size to get involved.”

You can see a recap of our targets towards Good Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education, and Responsible Consumption and Production below.

Contributing to existing environmental objectives

None of our Global Goals progress would be possible without sustainability tracking, which is where our Group Q&A Administrator, Sophie Gabriel comes in. Thanks to Sophie’s hard work, we now have a tracker in place which makes the reporting process much smoother.

“I first joined the committee as it ties in nicely with the environmental objectives that I already report on,” says Sophie. “It’s been great learning about all the projects that everyone has been working on, and then spreading awareness of them.”

“I didn’t know much about the Global Goals before I joined the group, and so initially I spent time with the sustainability department getting up to speed. This was great to understand in depth before manging a tracker and measuring Techbuyer’s progress.”

Career progression and personal development

The Global Goals have also provided great opportunities for younger members of the team. I caught up with Charlie Collett, Marketing Content Coordinator who has been assisting with sustainability projects.

“When I started at Techbuyer, I was fresh out of university and looking to learn as much as possible from the people around me,” Charlie comments. “Astrid, our Sustainability Lead took me under her wing and involved me in the company’s sign up to the UN Global Goals.”

“Several meetings, blogs, and bags of dolly mixtures later, our team of two is now several people from across the business. It’s been lovely seeing everybody’s interest in Techbuyer’s targets, and to be part of something so positive.”

“My favourite project so far has been our placement work with University of Leeds,” Charlie continues. “We hosted 18 Sustainability and Business students, gave a lecture on campus and watched them present their findings about sustainability practices at Techbuyer. This was especially rewarding for me as a University of Leeds graduate.”

Supporting long-term, charitable causes

Alan Fisher, ITAD Team Leader was recently crowned our Sustainability Champion of the month for his work with IT Schools Africa – a charity that provides quality digital education to school children across Kenya, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Techbuyer ITAD has been working with the charity for over a year, donating quality refurbished technology which is not part of our core inventory, such as keyboards and computers.

“These donations are important to me personally because when I went travelling across Africa and India in 2008, I saw that technology is a great leveller,” says Alan. “Schools with access to the internet are at a massive advantage, and it’s great being able to give that opportunity to more students.”

Problem-solving with business expertise

As our Group IT Director mentioned, the Global Goals has been a great opportunity to take everyone’s skills and bring them together to generate change. Ben Finder, a previous Sales Executive at Techbuyer was a great example of this. Soon after joining the Sustainability Committee, Ben started looking more closely into the way we track IT cost savings for hospitals, schools and universities. Not only did he find over £180,000 worth of savings which were not currently being tracked, but he also created and implemented a solution. Our trade team are now tracking every last penny of healthcare and education budget reductions, and continuing to work on our targets for Good Health and Wellbeing and Quality Education. Find out more in this blog.

Supporting people locally

Resurrected Bites reduces food waste by intercepting quality food from shops, supermarkets and cafés, and supplying them at Pay As You Feel cafés in Harrogate and Knaresborough. This provides affordable access to quality, healthy meals. During the pandemic, these cafés were closed, and instead food was delivered to peoples’ homes. This service fed over 2200 people within the first nine weeks of the pandemic.

When Tom Idle, IT Support Technician first joined the Sustainability Committee, he spoke to us about the Pay As You Go Café, and wondered if we could help in any way. Since then, Tom has helped supply two laptops and four mobile phones, which will help the charity to source, collect and deliver essentials in Harrogate and Knaresborough.

“This was a perfect situation – helping people where you can, and making sure technology is being used for good. I really enjoy being part of the committee and making sure we can help local people like this.”

Our Group HR Manager, Emily Shorrock has also been helping to support people locally. After discussing as a group how we could help foodbanks in Yorkshire during the Covid-19 pandemic, Emily and Marcus Lowe, UK Business Development Manager did some research and started a Techbuyer foodbank collection scheme. This involves collecting boxes of whichever food items are needed by Harrogate District Foodbank at that time, and then delivering them at the end of the month. Our first donation in August provided a car boot full of donated items and a supermarket delivery in order to help people during this difficult time.

Providing quality work

Emily has also been working with Harrogate Skills 4 Living Centre (HS4LC), which is a charity that supports people with learning difficulties or autism to gain independence, learn new skills and go into further education.

“At the start of 2020 we began working with HS4LC to provide warehouse sessions for young people, roughly twice a week,” says Emily. “The idea was to provide a supportive environment in which people can gain quality experience of the workplace and gain some expertise in IT equipment. The scheme also gives the potential to employ those on work placements in the long term. We’re looking forward to starting things back up again, Covid-19 permitting.”

“HS4LC also runs other initiatives to generate income. This year they set up a new enterprise called the Harrogate Chocolate Factory. Myself and other members of the team got to try the amazing chocolate out when they visited earlier this year. We’re looking into ways to partner with them further in this way, which is hugely exciting!”

It’s been a busy 12 months to say the least, and the team are really excited to see where this Global Goals journey takes us. We're especially looking forward to taking on projects internationally.

To find out what progress has been made with our five year targets, keep an eye out for our sustainability report which will be released later this year!

Techbuyer is a sustainable IT solutions provider with industry-leading facilities worldwide. Named Circular Economy Business of the Year at the IEMA Awards in September 2020, and with a Queen’s Award for International Trade under its belt, Techbuyer is a great example of a circular and commercially successful business.

Our IT specialists provide a range of new and quality refurbished server, storage and networking equipment, PCs, laptops and workstations. Every IT system and component that we sell comes with a three year warranty for complete peace of mind. We also buy used IT equipment and carry out repairs and upgrades, ensuring every stage of the IT lifecycle can be managed.

For more information, contact our friendly team who have over 15 years of experience in maximising IT budgets.

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