July 2010 Archives

Forrester report and case study on Green IT

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A Forrester report published this week, "Green IT Plans And Activities Persist In 2010 Despite Lack Of Formal Budgets And Priorities" is worth a read. It says that although only 26% of organisations have budget directly allocated to green IT, adoption of green IT is much higher, approaching 70% in areas of the data center and distributed IT. Infrastructure and operations (I&O) professionals should capitalise on green IT's momentum by embedding green IT policies and processes into the procurement, operation, and final disposal of new infrastructure investments in 2010. Although CEOs only care about revenue growth and profitability, I&O leaders can use examples from firms like AT&T, KPMG, Nike, and UPS to demonstrate that green IT initiatives can attract new customers (grow revenue) and reduce companywide costs (drive profitability).

If you're a Forrester subscriber, you can access the report here 

This case study on the role, responsibilities and success metrics of a Green IT Manager looks a good read too.  




The EU and Green IT

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Interesting summary post here on TechEye discussing the EU's positioning on Green IT, through the eyes of the research group Ovum.

It says "progress had been made" in this sector, however, public sector organisations are not yet strategically and developing green IT within their overall structure.

This could lead to an initiative that gets the ball rolling in one department but then offsetting it in another department by completely ignoring green initiatives. Essentially, with many EU organisations, one limb is working to keep the body moving towards an ecologically sound institute, but others are locking up and refusing to move. Efforts need to be made to convince executives and move organically towards energy efficiency.


Cisco Sustainable Business Barometer shows positive trend

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The 2degrees site is carrying a Cisco Sustainable Business Confidence Barometer which shows that, despite economic uncertainty, most large organisations expect to increase their investment in sustainability.


This Confidence Barometer, which has been developed to act as a twice-yearly measurement of prevailing levels of commitment and confidence to sustainable business strategies, is based on a survey of 500 organisations of more than 1,000 full-time employees.


The key findings are:


* Over 90% of those surveyed believe their CEO to consider sustainability important with only 3% viewing it as not important


* The majority of the large organisations surveyed (63.3%) have a dedicated sustainability budget


* Of these, less than 10% saw a decrease in the sustainability budget whilst more than 30% saw an increase in 2010


* The majority foresee an increase in investment in Energy Management and Carbon

Management, the areas that are perceived to have the greatest impact on operations


* Over 90% of respondents are confident that their companies' sustainability strategy will be successfully implemented in the future


The Cisco 2degrees Sustainable Business Confidence Barometer will next be published in January 2011, when it will identify the state of support at board level, budgets and optimism about sustainable business.

What's driving corporate sustainability management

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There's an interesting piece posted by Sonny Masero of CA Technologies on the Business Green site about the five forces driving corporate sustainability management. The five are brand competition, risk disclosure, regulatory compliance, innovation, and good business.

Ramping up the CRC strategy

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I've posted a few items here around the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, which to be honest, still has to gain traction.

However, there are a growing number of organisations and sites queueingup  to ramp up  the messaging or to advise on your CRC strategy. These include npower and Somar, which has produced a CRC Strategy Guide, Cambium, and Verdantix, which interviewed 202 carbon management experts in some of the largest private and public sector organisations covered by the CRC in a study commissioned by CA.

As time ticks by, you can expect more in depth advice and studies to emerge on how to make CRC work for you, understanding the role of the CFO and CIO in driving the CRC strategy, acquiring the necessary supporting technologies, and managing your way up the CRC league table. That one and its likely effect on corporate brands will probably appeal to Marketing Departments.



Survey: Key Questions for Directors on CRC

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Board room engagement on carbon management will be critical if the UK government's CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) is to be effective. CRC requires firms to nominate a legal company director to sign the carbon emissions compliance reports, introduces fines for non-compliance and includes a public "league table" that ranks performance during each compliance year.


To help organisation improve their chances of getting a high spot in the UK government's carbon reduction league table, Verdantix interviewed 202 carbon management experts in some of the largest private and public sector organisations covered by the CRC in a study commissioned by CA.


These are the questions and the results.


1) What is the quality of our carbon compliance data?

Executives need to ensure that the quality of energy and carbon data reported under the CRC meets the requirements of Environment Agency audits. This is a level of scrutiny which has rarely been applied to energy consumption data in the past. Eighty-one per cent of the 202 carbon experts we spoke with believe that firms achieving leadership in the CRC will avoid CRC penalties and fines from non-compliance.


2) What CO2 reduction goal will secure leadership in Year 2?

The CRC ratchets up the pressure on private and public sector organisations to communicate and deliver on a carbon reduction target. By the end of 2010, 83% of the 202 experts in the survey stated that their organisations will have sign-off from the CEO for a multi-year carbon reduction goal. Even though reducing carbon emissions under the CRC is voluntary, 67% of the survey respondents "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement that "the CRC scheme will require my organisation to reduce its CO emissions between 2009 and 2011".


3) What is the accuracy and completeness of our energy spend data?

Few firms have complete, accurate, timely and granular data on energy spend for the entire organisation's operations. 66% of the 202 energy and carbon experts interviewed believe that CRC leaders will achieve significant energy efficiency cost savings. The regulation requires the timely consolidation of non-estimated energy consumption data.


4) When did or will we achieve certification with the Carbon Trust Standard?

10% of organisations have set an objective to lead the UK on CRC performance and 68% expect they will have achieved the Carbon Trust Standard by the end of 2010. This achievement will provide organisations with a 100% score on 50% of the Early Action Metrics in Year 1 of the CRC.

5) What is our energy metering strategy?

The arcane world of electricity metering systems is not a subject for executive discussion, but what is important for the CEO is his or her firm's strategy to achieve 100% coverage of CRC emissions with half-hourly meters. By doing so in the first year of the CRC scheme, which runs from April 1, 2010 to March 31, 2011, it will be possible for executives to bask in the glory of top marks in the CRC League Table with very positive benefits for the brand.


6) How will you forecast future CO emissions accurately?

The CRC decision-makers in our survey believe the ability to forecast CO emissions in 2010 is an essential leadership trait. Thirty-eight per cent of the respondents stated that creating reliable forecasts for future emissions is "very important" for leading carbon management and a further 52% stated that it is "important". Forecasting CO emissions is an important skill to develop since organisations need to buy CRC allowances in April 2011 to cover the next year's expected emissions. Without a forecast the CFO will struggle to budget correctly.


7) What is the cost of CRC compliance including energy data collection?

Forty per cent of the respondents believe that 10 or more individuals will be involved in energy data collection. Eighty per cent of the organisations spoken with have set aside a budget for energy and carbon data collection, 73% have a budget for smart meters, 63% have an energy efficiency Capex budget and 54% have budgeted for carbon management software. Seventy-seven per cent of the respondents believe that it is "important" or "very important" to provide a ring-fenced budget for energy and carbon efficiency.


8) Have carbon costs been included in financial planning for 2011?

CFOs need to engage with carbon management and the CRC in several ways. Among the 202 experts spoken with, 82% think that carbon costs need to be integrated into financial data to achieve carbon leadership in 2010. On a separate point, 65% of the organisations surveyed have already set aside budget to buy CRC allowances in April 2011. What's more 29% of the respondents believe the CFO should sign off the CRC compliance reports.


9) Are you relying on spreadsheets to manage CRC compliance data?

Today, 79% of the organisations in the survey rely on Microsoft Excel to manage energy and carbon data. By contrast, 56% believe that top-performing CRC organisations will deploy energy management software and 50% consider top performers will use carbon management software. By the end of 2010, 78% will have launched an IT project to consolidate energy and carbon data and 87% believe a centralised database for energy and carbon data is "important" or "very important" for leadership on carbon management.


10) What quantified financial benefits will our CRC strategy deliver?


The 202 carbon management experts interviewed make a strong case for the financial benefits of CRC leadership. Sixty-six per cent "agree" or "strongly agree" with the idea that CRC leadership will help their organisation to achieve significant energy efficiency cost savings, 64% tout the benefits of a reduced impact on cash flow from the purchase of CRC allowances and 57% agree that CRC leadership will drive incremental sales.


"For the first time, the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme requires participating organisations to make a legal company director accountable for carbon emissions data. Almost the same proportion of those interviewed thought the CFO should be accountable (29%) as the CEO (30%)" commented David Metcalfe, Verdantix director. "Why is the CFO moving to centre stage? Our interviewees talked about budgets for new carbon management initiatives, the need to integrate carbon costs into financial data and the cash flow implications of the CRC. Verdantix expects CFOs to come under increasing pressure to tackle CRC compliance."


You can read more about the survey here



Google: from a search engine to a power provider

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Given its influence, any news from Google shouldn't really be a surprise. But this week the company caused some raised eyebrows with its latest deal: a 20 year tie up to buy wind power. OK, it's not going to use it to wind power in its data centres, but it is going to be an energy provider, selling capacity back to the grid.

Perhaps the smartest part of the deal? It's locked in the price for 20 years.

You can read more here

IBM steps up the green supply chain pressure

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Interesting piece in the Harvard Business Review blogs about how IBM is stepping up the pressure on its suppliers.

IBM wants its suppliers to do four things:

  1. Define and deploy an environmental management systems (EMS).
  2. Measure existing environmental impacts and establish goals to improve performance.
  3. Publicly disclose their metrics and results.
  4. "Cascade" these requirements to any suppliers that are material to IBM's products.

Separately, another Harvard Business Review post discusses a new tool for understanding sustainability drivers.


Product-level Carbon Footprint measurement and Green XML

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At this week's BioDiversity Summit in London, moves were made to improve product-level measurement of carbon footprints and launch BASDA Green XML.


Breakthrough technology developed by @UK PLC together with the University of Reading, Goldsmiths College, University of London and the Centre for Sustainable Accounting, removes the current cost barrier to analysing an organisations overall carbon footprint, and allows organisations to improve their performance by purchasing local, regional or global products that have the lowest footprint, and to balance this against the rest of their polices to achieve the required reduction.


On the same day, BASDA XML was also launched. A major driver behind the development of this Green XML is that Carbon Emission trading is now a significant international business, and furthermore, there is a movement towards legislating for carbon accounting for all businesses.   Without an agreed standard for interoperability between systems however, it will not be possible to extend from the current very large projects with significant measurement overhead, to a business-as-usual landscape.   Thus there is a requirement for XML interoperability standards to be created and tested, so that financial software can be updated to support carbon, and other message types.


Welcome to GreenTech

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This Green IT blog has grown out of some work I've recently been doing in Reading, working with organisations such as C8 Consulting, Kyocera Mita, and the Henley Centre for Sustainable Enterprise at Henley Business School, around the ongoing development of deeper, faster sustainability efforts within organisations, moving beyond picking the low hanging fruit in terms of carbon reduction and sustainability to deliver longer-lasting, more structural and game-changing developments.

I'll be tracking, for example, the growth of the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, which although registration began in April, has got off to a slow start. Of the 5000 organisations expected to register, I heard last week at the Kyocera Mita Green Card Conference that current registration numbers for CRC are only  around a tenth of those expected. And the clock is ticking.

At the same conference, which featured presentations by 10:10, insurance group RSA, Capgemini, Greenbang and Reading Borough Council's LoCUS project, I also heard a whisper that we can expect government to give carbon reporting more teeth by ratcheting up reporting through the Companies Act.

Watch this space for more insight, putting Green IT, sustainability and lean thinking into context.




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