Environment Agency aims to halve carbon emissions with green IT contract

The Environment Agency has signed an IT contract which aims to halve the department's carbon emissions.

The seven-year £336m contract...

The Environment Agency has signed an IT contract which aims to halve the department's carbon emissions.

The seven-year £336m contract will see IT services company Capgemini take over day-to-day IT services for 13,000 users and network services at the Environment Agency.

The deal claims to be the first UK IT contract to lay down green metrics.

The contract covers the production and transportation of hardware and energy savings for each end-user. Further green measures will include reduction, reuse and recycling of hardware, and all disposals will be done under strict Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) regulations.

Graham Ledward, director of resources at the Environment Agency, said, "This contract not only aims to exceed the government's sustainable IT targets, it also sets a high standard for environmental performance, which we hope that other public sector organisations and businesses would wish to reflect."

Christine Hodgson, vice-president and member of the Capgemini group executive committee, said the contract uniquely makes green issues a prerequisite. "It will be the most sustainable IT contract in government. Everything will be done on a backdrop of sustainability."

This means Capgemini will minimise travel to sites, use green datacentres and low-energy devices, and cut electronic waste by extending the life of hardware at the Environment Agency.

"We will produce a scorecard for carbon emissions. There will be a carbon target for every piece of work we undertake," Hodgson said.

The contract relies on Capgemini meeting its own internal green targets. By 2014, Capgemini aims to reduce its travel carbon footprint by 30%, eliminate landfill waste and increase datacentre efficiency by 20%. As part of this strategy, the services company recently attained ISO 14000 environmental management certification.

The Environment Agency hopes the service from Capgemini can be reused by government and other public sector organisations.

Industry experts have estimated that IT contributes 2% of total carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to that usually attributed to aviation.

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