Consumer pressure for more climate-neutral, sustainable options has been growing for several years – to the point where, as of March 2022, nearly 90% of Gen X consumers 1 said they would be willing to spend an extra 10% or more for sustainable products. Deloitte reported in 2021 that 28% of UK consumers had even stopped purchasing certain brands or products because of ethical- or sustainability-related concerns.

Pressure to become more sustainable also stems from stakeholders. In 2020 KPMG2 reported that businesses face increased scrutiny over sustainability from “from financial stakeholders, especially asset owners and managers”, becoming markedly more intense and demanding over the last three years. 28% of employees3 would even consider quitting their current role and transitioning into one which was offered by a more environmentally-responsible company.

Businesses may be motivated by consumer purchasing, the ‘big resignation’ and retaining employees, or may simply acknowledge that a business is a societal actor holding a responsibility to create a more climate-resilient future. Ultimately, sustainability strategies can be driven by a blend of all these reasons as a business looks to foster longevity – creating long-term value and resilience by taking into consideration how it operates and impacts the world on an ecological, social and economic level.

At the forefront of innovation

When it began moving towards a carbon-neutral model, ABAX was driven by a multitude of factors. It acknowledged that the technology we develop has the power to help others become more sustainable; allowing businesses to monitor the environmental impact of its fleets, by recording emissions, driver behaviour and enabling route optimisation.

UK Commercial Director, Kevin Bull explains, “on average a fleet vehicle idles for 32 hours a year, per driver that’s 284 kg of CO2. Telematics can easily help organisations cut this idling and make an immediate positive impact on its emissions. With recent data from the UN panel on Climate Change reinforcing the link between the rate of global warming and human influence – its high time we all act where we can – without delay.”

The technology also has the power to help users extend the lifetime of their assets – the data gained through telematics can enable fleet managers to evaluate the usage of assets (including vehicles, tools and machinery) to ensure their better maintenance, adding to the assets’ longevity – the vision is for companies “using ABAX services to increase the usage of their asset for one more year”.

SaaS as the SOS for construction

Innovation has allowed the firm to continue its mission to provide more sustainable options, notably in its launch of the Smart Connect SaaS solution. It’s common for modern appliances, machinery, vehicles and tools to be fitted at the point of manufacture with a telematics device – but for many firms these devices aren’t practical because multiple brands of machinery are used in any given day, meaning multiple platforms would need to be accessed to view the data.

Smart Connect removes this barrier by providing an all-in-one platform that connects the multiple different telematics devices – meaning managers can simply log in once to view all the data they need.  And that’s without the need for any additional hardware.

Greener business for a greener planet

Yet to be a truly sustainable option on the market for firms focusing on reducing their climate impact, ABAX needed to ensure its own operations were as environmentally-friendly as possible. Not just to enhance the green value of the supply chain of its customers, but out of a strong sense of responsibility – Bruce Atle Karlsen, Chief Performance Officer at ABAX, explained, “all companies should scrutinise how their business impacts the world, and this is more important in 2022 than ever before in the history of humanity.”

Accountability is critical when it comes to sustainability. That’s why the firm implemented a host of sustainability initiatives as part of its wide-ranging CSR strategy. For each subscription purchased, ABAX plants a tree as part of their collaboration with reforestation organisation WeForest – the result is an additional 200,000 trees growing in the afromontane forest of Mount Mulanje in 2021. The work of WeForest is so incredibly important in conserving the ecological integrity of forest and addressing the challenges that surrounding global warming, water scarcity and poverty and we are proud to be able to continue to support their work.

ABAX Sustainability Consultant, Taryn Sumpton acknowledges that charity initiatives are important, but far from the whole solution:

“We know our products can help businesses become greener, and that we’re making significant contributions to environmental organisations. But, to be truly sustainable, we need to look at our own manufacturing and supply chain to ensure we’re doing all we can.

“It’s no secret that the last couple of years have been fraught with supply chain challenges. We had previously moved to a model where the manufacture of our product was completed in Europe. Supply challenges meant we had to diversify from this – but that’s why we’ve since included in our 2021 sustainability strategy to define a green supply chain as a carbon neutral supply chain, and we’ve made the decision to calculate the product carbon footprint of our hardware so we can act upon that effectively.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that the road to sustainability has its bumps. But that’s why we’re transparent as we have adapted to still work towards our climate-resilient goals – without this our customers can’t make informed choices, and we can’t genuinely provide the greener option on the market.”

Critically, this is where ABAX says all companies would be wise to focus, if they’re genuine about creating their own climate-resilient future: look at the products being provided, but look at where CSR initiatives too. As Kevin says, “in a world where environmental issues and global warming are urgent, ABAX continues to reduce its operational impact while developing solutions that help our customers control and manage theirs.”

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