In today’s digital business context, the use of IT has a significant impact on the organisation’s environmental footprint, particularly in industries with a high degree of service delivery such as financial services, public sector and the technology industry itself. The consumption of energy by the technology industry makes it a huge offender for emissions while UK & Ireland fail to make their emissions targets. The amount of energy consumed during an ongoing cost of energy crisis also emphasises the need of making IT greener - and leveraging IT to reduce the climate impact of organisations and their eco-systems.
During the last six months we have seen a substantial shift in client focus to address their ESG status, particularly in respect of carbon emissions. Much of this change is driven by demand from larger business customers. More and more, tenders, requests for quotes and renewal of contracts are accompanied by increasingly comprehensive and onerous ESG information demands about standards, business policies, environmental declarations, staff training, supplier preparations and so on. This has created challenges for most organisations and especially SMEs who generally don’t have anyone with responsibility for ESG nor the skills, systems, data or processes in place to meet these requirements.
No tariffs and no quotas - that’s what everyone said when the UK and EU announced the new Trade and Cooperation Agreement in December 2020 – and it is true, up to a point. UK originating goods are tariff free when entering the EU. EU originating goods are tariff fee when entering the UK. But determining the origin of goods is not always straightforward, and no proof is required until 1st January 2022. What unpleasant surprises are waiting to emerge in the New Year?
On 1st January 2021 the EU introduced a series of controls on imports of animal products from Great Britain. It is no exaggeration to say that this created chaos, and seven months on, UK food exporters are still struggling to recover. The UK, meanwhile, delayed the introduction of similar controls for most animal products arriving from the EU, but this will soon change. On 1st October 2021 all products of animal origin entering Great Britain from the EU will require certification and registration. On 1st January 2022 a further requirement for inspection of arrivals will be introduced. Both of these requirements are likely to dent, or even reverse, the anaemic recovery in food imports from the EU to the UK. What should or can be done to prepare for these critical changes?
On 25th June companies which have opted to defer their UK import declarations will need to start dealing with the consequences. 25th June marks the first of a series of dates when the UK will tighten its border controls. Will there be chaos or barely a ripple? What happens at the end of June could give us a window to the future.
The most recent figures from the UK Office for National Statistics made grim reading. Imports from the EU to the UK, having fallen by almost 30% in January, showed only an anaemic recovery of 7% in February. At first glance, it appears that exports from the UK to the EU had fared better, with a good proportion of January’s loss returning in February. Looking under the surface, however, shows that most of this recovery was due to two sectors – machinery and transport equipment (incl. cars) and chemicals (incl. vaccine ingredients). This indicates that the impact of Brexit on trade volumes is likely to be persistent.
Many are worried that sustainability will not be prioritised as societies and businesses are gradually recovering from the effects of the pandemic. Such concerns are based on the observation that companies as well as consumers are struggling just to survive and that any investments whatsoever in sustainability will be considered a non-affordable luxury.