Centric Public Report 2020
The world is facing big challenges when it comes to dealing with scarce resources, combating climate change and creating development opportunities for everyone. At Centric, we are doing our bit by sharing our skills with our networks and communities so that others can also tackle present-day challenges with smart solutions and technological innovations. As an international service provider, Centric believes in the power of innovation as a driver of sustainable growth, which our people work on together with suppliers and partners.
Innovation revolves around sustainable growth, that is to say responsible growth that also takes into account people, planet and society. In this regard, we focus explicitly on developing products and services that contribute to sustainable growth for our customers and our company, to reducing energy consumption (embedded in our company via our ISO 14001-certified environmental management system, for example) and to inclusive employment.
Planet: sustainable growth is a mission
Centric is also doing its bit by integrating social awareness of environmental issues into our operations. For example, based on our environmental policy, we work with all business units on matters where we actually have an impact: reducing carbon emissions, managing waste streams and creating a sustainable supply chain. A well-functioning environmental management system that complies with ISO 14001 has been in place at Centric since 2011. Our ISO 14001 certification is clear confirmation that we are adhering to our environmental policy and complying with environmental laws and regulations. Every year, we work on ambitious goals to make our business operations more sustainable.
In 2020, we exceeded our recurring annual goal of reducing our energy consumption by 2%. What is more, in the area of transport, we reduced our carbon emissions by 34%. The reduction in both energy consumption and carbon emissions from transport can be largely attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. All the same, every year we take serious measures to reduce our energy and carbon footprint. Since 2020, our energy dashboard has provided real-time insight into energy consumption, enabling us to take additional measures when and where necessary. We are also investing heavily in remote working so as to reduce the number of trips to and from customers. In addition to other benefits, it was also partly thanks to this that we were able to continue to provide many of our services during the coronavirus pandemic. At Centric, wherever possible, waste is sorted and handled according to material or recyclability. Our principle is that we try to prevent waste in the first place and, where the manufacturer allows this, Centric engineers repair products that show defects. For example, Centric employs certified engineers who are authorised to carry out such repairs on servers and certain other hardware. Servers that Centric can no longer use are returned to the manufacturer for reuse elsewhere. Centric also has its own waste collection zone where hardware components are separated and prepared for further handling by the waste processing company. In 2020, we switched to a single waste collection company; this enables us to report on all waste streams and to process components in an environmentally friendly way. Environmental awareness also plays an important role in our efforts. Centric employees have been following environmental awareness courses for several years now; as a result, the awareness of employees in this area increased by 8% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Profit: innovation is sustainable growth
To conduct sustainable business, a company needs to have a sound financial foundation. This also makes it possible to invest in attractive social initiatives, as a socially-committed company. In selecting which organisations and initiatives to sponsor, we look at those with a good fit with our own company.
Education and training is extremely important to Centric, which is why we work together with vocational education centres to organise workshops, why we offer around 70 internships and final year placements each year, and why we supervise students from universities of applied sciences while they do their practical. One organisation that Centric sponsors, and has been sponsoring ever since it was founded ten years ago, is the Goudse Weekendschool. This school gives motivated children from less privileged backgrounds the opportunity to pursue personal development. We not only support this school financially and administratively, but also through Centric employees, who enjoy volunteering their time during the lessons. In addition, Centric donated 25,000 euros to the Princess Máxima Center for pediatric oncology in the past year. This is a unique center where all highly complex care and research for children with cancer comes together. The Princess Máxima Center's mission is to cure every child with cancer, with an optimal quality of life. Normally, Centric offers many relations a gift at the end of each year as a thank you for the cooperation. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was not possible to hand out this gift in person in 2020, so this amount has been donated to the Princess Máxima Center. We also support the Máxima with IT services for the digitization of activities for distraction, relaxation and stress reduction for children and families.
'Centric donates 25,000 euros to Princess Máxima Center'
Product: technology contributes to sustainability
The global IT industry is responsible for a significant portion of the total energy consumption on earth. Given this fact, Centric feels it is important to reduce energy consumption using technology. We do this by making our services more sustainable and by making our own business operations more sustainable too. We apply three principles in these endeavours: Greening by IT, where IT contributes to sustainability; Greening of IT, which is all about making the technology itself more sustainable; and IT as Enabler, which allows our customers to use our software to increase their own positive social impact.
Many of our software products help make our customers’ and our own processes more sustainable. The energy consumption of IT systems can be reduced by deploying resources as efficiently as possible. Hardware virtualisation is a good example: as the administrator of its customers’ hosting environment, Centric uses server virtualisation, whereby the customer’s servers run in an optimum set-up in certified green data centres. We also reuse standard components for software development. As is often stated, for the customer IT is not an end in itself, but a means to an end. We want to help make our customers more sustainable with our services and products. One example of this is the Device as a Service (DaaS) solution we offer customers. With DaaS, ownership of the hardware device remains with the manufacturer, the customer only uses the device. In this regard, Centric works together with partners who zero in on maximising the value of devices by focusing on reuse. We also take energy-saving measures with regard to software, including measures aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of software architecture.
People: inclusive employment practices
Our employees are the beating heart of our company: without them Centric could not exist. That is why we go out of our way to see that our people can continue to develop professionally. We offer our employees workshops, courses, practical training and challenging projects. By bringing our professionals, partners and customers together, Centric provides the environment for them to share their talents, knowledge and ideas. This kind of collaboration leads to real solutions that help our customers succeed. Our hiring policy, which encompasses diversity and inclusion, also helps in this: everyone is welcome at Centric. This goes not only for our own employees, but also for people with poor job prospects. We broaden the opportunities of this group of people by offering them work experience placements, additional training and retraining in IT. We also offer internships that allow students to gain work experience and, this way, increase their chances on the job market. The positive impact of these kinds of efforts is two-fold: they help reduce the shortage of skilled IT staff and they help jobseekers, including those with poor job prospects, find paid employment.
It is from this perspective that we have for years been collaborating with partners with inclusion as their focus, like BEE-Ideas, ITvitae and De Normaalste Zaak. And in 2020 we entered into several new collaborations, including with ASTICT and 2TestIT. ASTICT helps people with autism find a job in IT. One employee started working at Centric through this route in 2020. Unlike our collaboration with BEE-Ideas, ITvitae and ASTICT, where people are placed at a Centric location, 2TestIT has supported Centric throughout the year in specific assignments performed (in a secure environment) on location at 2TestIT. We also started a pilot for Open Hiring in 2020, where we made a position available without the jobseeker having to go through an application procedure, and we made several work experience places available, including for people on benefits for young people with a disability.
People come first at Centric, which means we are committed to providing good working conditions and offering good terms of employment. We respect international human rights, including the ten principles of the UN Global Compact, which centre around corporate sustainability. In addition, we do not employ children where this would violate International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions 138 and 182 (neither directly nor indirectly), and we do not engage in or support the use of forced or compulsory labour of any nature.
In 2021, we will continue to focus on diversity and inclusion. To this end, we will continue to collaborate with our partners and investigate how we can further increase diversity within our company.
Centric will also start moving its data centres in 2021 to the data centres of its partner Equinix. Corporate social responsibility was an important aspect in the choice for Equinix, a renowned and specialised data centre partner with an active policy on CSR and Social Return. Besides this, Centric is in the middle of a transition to the cloud. Energy consumption also plays an important role here. Together with partners, we want to provide insight into the customer’s energy consumption. On 31 December 2020, the ‘MJA3 covenant’ (Dutch multi-year agreements on energy efficiency) concluded between NLdigital and the Ministry of Economic Affairs ended. Centric will continue in 2021 to apply the target set in the covenant: a 2% reduction in energy consumption per year. We will also make the switch to a certification system in 2021 to anchor our energy management system and our energy targets.
Smart Working In September 2021, Centric will launch its Smart Working initiative where employees will continue working from home several days a week on an ongoing basis. We are also investigating how our vehicle fleet can be made greener in order to help us sustainably reduce our carbon emissions. Another key focus for us is our sustainable procurement policy. Centric aims to operate a policy of procuring goods and services in the most environmentally conscious way possible. In 2021, we will flesh out this policy and implement it further across the company. With regard to all CSR-related measures, in 2021 Centric will take guidance from the content of reports we share in the annual report and through other channels.