The recession is the perfect time for CIOs to rewrite budget proposals to take in green issues to win over company boards, says former CIO Chris Billimore.
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Billimore, a director at IT specialist financial investment firm CIO Plus, told the IT Directors' Forum that many of them were already under pressure to cut costs, and that much of what they were doing already had a green component.
"Installing power management for the PC estate, using double-sided printing, virtualisation - these can all be rejustified in terms of the green benefits they bring," he said.
He said that it was important to spell this out because "We have moved into a new marketing environment, one where green credentials are an important part of the company's marketing and communications messages," he said.
Billimore said legislation to force greener business practices were likely by 2009.
"Most CIOs are already looking for savings in the right places, but they are not reporting their effect on their carbon footprint," he said.
Doing so could help swing budget requests because boards were increasingly concerned about green issues, he said. This was because of their effect on how the firm was seen by shareholders, customers, staff and prospective employees, as well as the impending legislation, all of which affect the share price.
However, to gain credibility, firms should measure their carbon footprints accurately, develop strategies and plans to mitigate them, and measure its reduction over time, he said.
Billimore said there were few parts of an organisation where CIOs would not have a role to play in "greening" the firm. It was a natural extension to their traditional role as they were already dealing with pressure to cut costs and become more productive.