Symbiotic sustainability: Seven ways to implement impactful environmental changes within the partner ecosystem

By Kimberly King, Senior Vice President, Strategic Partners & Alliances, Hitachi Vantara

August 4, 2023

The stakes are as high when it comes to the future of the partner ecosystem – nothing short of saving the planet. In a world grappling with daunting environmental challenges, enterprises increasingly prioritize sustainability as a core tenet of long-term profitability. With climate change markers approaching critical levels that are wreaking havoc on the world economy, organizations are realizing the urgency of implementing measures that protect both the environment and the bottom line. 

Symbiotic sustainability underpins the essential role of environmental stewardship in ensuring long-term fiscal success — investing in environmental policies that boost the bottom line across strategic partnerships. Emerging as a guiding principle, this mutually beneficial mode of embracing sustainable practices is not only an ethical responsibility but also a brilliant strategic move. Today’s organizations realize that thriving in the future depends on their ability to harmonize economic growth with environmental preservation, highlighting the significance of symbiotic sustainability as a catalyst for driving business success while also safeguarding the planet.

Reaching sustainability goals for U.S. businesses is likely still 25 years out.

We conducted a recent survey which sheds light on the importance of sustainability for organizations and the hurdles they face in achieving their goals. There is simply no quick fix.

Yet, despite not expecting to reach net zero carbon emissions until 2048, nearly four in five companies said they have prioritized sustainability, developing plans for achieving carbon neutrality (78%) and net zero carbon emissions (79%). 

Hitachi Vantara’s sustainability measures bolster the concept of symbiotic sustainability and forecast the next steps aspiring companies need to take to continue to strive toward these goals in tangible ways.

The Need for Concrete Strategies

Greenwashed themes are no longer cutting it among savvy consumers or the potential business partners who serve them. According to the Hitachi Vantara report, nearly 80% of U.S. companies have developed plans for achieving carbon neutrality and net-zero carbon emissions. However, that progress may not be as robust as perceived. This drives home the need for concrete strategies and implementation plans, supported by data-driven approaches, to address emissions across the entire IT estate.

1. Cultivate strategic partnerships

Building strategic partnerships with organizations that share a commitment to sustainability is crucial. Seek out partners who have expertise, resources and technologies that complement your own. By aligning with partners who have similar values and goals, you can amplify your sustainability efforts through shared knowledge, collaborative projects and joint initiatives.

2. Co-create sustainable solutions

Collaborative innovation is key to developing sustainable solutions. Engage with partners to co-create innovative products, services and technologies that address environmental challenges. By combining expertise and resources, you can develop cutting-edge solutions that optimize resource utilization, reduce waste and minimize environmental impact.

3. Share best practices and knowledge

Use your partner ecosystem as a platform for sharing best practices and knowledge. Exchange ideas, success stories and lessons learned with partners who have successfully implemented sustainable practices. By fostering a culture of collaboration and knowledge sharing, you can collectively advance sustainability goals and accelerate progress.

4. Advocate for sustainability from the top down

Leverage your partner ecosystem to advocate for policy changes that support sustainability. Collaborate with industry associations, non-profit organizations and governmental bodies to drive policy reforms and regulations that promote sustainable practices. The survey highlights challenges organizations face, including the struggle to keep up with regulations (45%) and inadequate access to critical sustainability data (38%). You must be willing to go beyond compliance-driven strategies to make the business case for sustainable operations and the potential benefits such as energy cost savings, optimized storage space and streamlined operations. 

5. Measure and communicate impact

Effectively measure and communicate the collective impact of your partner ecosystem’s sustainability efforts. Develop key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to track progress. Share success stories, case studies and impact reports to inspire others and demonstrate the value of collaboration in achieving sustainability goals. Added bonus: saving the planet pays off in dividends.

6. Collaborate to innovate

By bringing together diverse expertise, technologies and perspectives, companies can work together to co-create innovative products and services that address environmental challenges. These partnerships enable forward-thinking enterprises to symbiotically support and develop sustainable solutions that optimize resource utilization, minimize waste and reduce carbon emissions.

7. Educate the C-Suite 

The report highlights a disparity in awareness among C-suite executives regarding the importance of data center modernization for sustainability goals. CEOs, chief digital officers and CTOs appear more informed, recognizing eco-friendly data centers as effective carbon footprint reduction measures. By elevating visibility in the C-suite and beyond, you can leverage their lead-by-example approach to have a broader impact on company culture. When creating a sustainable business environment is a core business tenet, transforming the “trickle down” effect into a ripple effect across an organization fosters lasting change.

It takes a village

Symbiotic sustainability cannot be undertaken as a unilateral process. To be truly realized, it must be a joint effort brought about by hard-won collaborations and dedicated partnerships. 

Leveraging your partner ecosystem boosts environmental efforts. By cultivating strategic partnerships, co-creating sustainable solutions, collaborating on supply chain sustainability, sharing best practices, advocating for policy change and measuring impact, your company can maximize its positive environmental influence. Businesses can drive significant change and contribute to a more sustainable future by working collectively, while reaping the benefits of enhanced brand reputation, stakeholder engagement and long-term business success.


Kimberly King is responsible for the Hitachi Vantara Global Strategic Partners & Alliances Organization. King’s primary focus is on building a strategic partner ecosystem that offers the unique capabilities, solutions and services that, in conjunction with Hitachi industry expertise and innovative solutions, will enable customers to realize the power of their data and Hitachi Vantara partners to profitably grow. King’s responsibility also includes constructing and delivering a global partner program that is flexible and scalable in its design to embrace new types of partners and business models, including as-a-service, managed services, and co-creation. Over the last decade, King has been recognized as a CRN Channel Chief eleven times, a CRN Power 100 Women of the Channel eight times, and last year, as one of CRN’s 50 Most Influential Channel Chiefs.