“TCO Certified is an all-in-one solution for us and our clients”

AB Group is a major IT distributor in central and eastern Europe. By providing their clients with objective sustainability information, spare parts, extended warranties and repairs, they promote the shift to a circular economy.

Chief Operational Officer, Vice President Zbigniew Mądry and Sales Director Patrycja Gawarecka see that the demand for more sustainable IT products is growing fast — although it’s not fully reflected in sales charts yet. To help their clients make responsible choices of IT products, they provide them with sustainability information confirmed by independent verifiers, access to proof of compliance, and an easy way to filter out the products with the best sustainability properties on AB S.A.’s business-to-business platform abonline.pl.

“We searched for ways to provide more product sustainability information to the market. Also, we aimed to eliminate a risk of bias which could appear if we selected such products on our own. TCO Certified came as an all-in-one solution to those issues,” says Patrycja Gawarecka.

“We have integrated data from TCO Development’s Product Finder on our business-to-business platform. Also, we ask manufacturers for their input data on certified products. This information is added to the product specification, and each product is linked to tcocertified.com where proof of compliance can be found.”

„Searchability is also important — partners can use ‘TCO Certified’ as a product filter on abonline.pl. Currently, our online platform has nearly 1,000 certified product configurations.”

What are the benefits of TCO Certified, as you see it?

“Products certified according to TCO Certified can have long product life thanks to their high durability and repairability. A great way to minimize a product’s negative environmental and social impact is by choosing a product that can be used for longer,” Patrycja Gawarecka says.

“A certified product has passed laboratory tests and is proven reusable. It is properly designed, then responsibly produced. It is also fit for ecological use, repair, refurbishment/upcycling, and finally, recycling. Certified products have passed tests in all these areas. Therefore, TCO Certified is a selector of the best products for IT hardware lifecycle management.

“Even if someone cares only about the financial benefit, TCO Certified is still of value as certified products have a low yearly total cost of ownership,” Gawarecka concludes.

Which other tools do you offer to help clients become more sustainable?

“We aim to increase the availability of spare parts that could be ordered and installed by our repair center or by any partner technically qualified for it,” Gawarecka says.

Zbigniew Mądry adds:
“We also provide circularity-friendly services such as extended product warranty, insurance from accidental damage and post-warranty IT hardware repairs.”

Patrycja Gawarecka: “Industry surveys show that end users expect to receive more reliable and independently verified product sustainability information to make a valid choice. Also, most end users do not want to pay extra for a sustainable product if it has the same technical features as a cheaper, not sustainable alternative. Therefore it is important to show that buying price and the most popular technical parameters should not be the only selectors.

“Here our role as a value-added distributor becomes useful. We can use our local market knowledge to pick sustainability features that are most important in various sales scenarios and prepare optimized training support for partners. Accompanied services, such as ”device as a service” or long-term rental service, can help a lot as they have the potential to bring out the advantages of high durability and a low annual cost of ownership.”

“A sustainable product might not defend itself on the market without support. We need something like ‘sustainability as a service’ where a physical product is delivered together with sustainable services adapted to the local market and the end user’s needs.”

What can you say about the future of Sustainable IT?

Zbigniew Mądry: “IT hardware will become more sustainable over time. It will be a decades-long journey as technological development is a continuous process. Circularity-minded markets will lead the way.”

“However, we will not reach sustainability and circularity without social and governance engagement. With TCO Certified, compliance in these areas is independently verified, which is positive. The status can otherwise be difficult for our partners and end users to assess, as socially responsible manufacturing is not a physical feature.

“Our prediction is that IT hardware manufacturers will increase their engagement in making devices more sustainable on every part of the product lifecycle, also seeing distributors as partners in that field.

About AB Group

AB Group is a major information and communication technology distributor in the CEE region, consisting of Poland, Czechia and Slovakia. We distribute over 100,000 products from over 800 brands to over 16,000 business partners. Since 2006, we have been listed on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.