Keeping the Lights on

It’s been a week of Green initiatives that may have been lost in the excitement of Euro 2012 and the Olympics build up. It serves to remind me how Green issues and energy consumption are so vitally important to the IT Industry and also, sadly, how few of us are taking action.

  1. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio (Rio+20) aims to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.
  2. The UK government has, this week, announced mandatory Carbon Reporting for top 1800 businesses.

Key aspects about this compulsory reporting of corporate carbon footprints are:

  • Carbon reporting to be part of the Annual Report
  • Reporting required from April 2013
  • Reporting will be in addition to other schemes, e.g. Carbon Reduction Commitment
  • Reporting will be reviewed in 2015, with a view to roll out to all large businesses from 2016

Like it, or not we are all going to have to be more involved in measuring and reducing the carbon footprint of the organisations for which we work. Much of the carbon footprint of UK organisations is generated by their IT – be it in-house or transferred to an Outsourcer.  The carbon footprint of the IT Industry is now greater than that of the global airline industry. Some 40% of the energy consumption within a typical administration complex is due to that used by the IT infrastructure.

It is ironic that, in many organisations, the energy required to cool IT equipment is actually higher than that needed to power it in the first place. Some organisations are already re-locating their data centres outside of London because there is insufficient capacity locally to ensure continuity of supply.

Being Green is a generic term used to label any product or action meant to help the environment. It can mean many things to different people. For example: buying products made of sustainable material; products that are made with natural ingredients; eating locally or organically; eating less or without meat; conserving energy; using renewable energy or  clean energy; creating your own energy; planting trees; recycling, etc.

Without a doubt, we need to get really serious about exploring the Green dimension to managing our IT. The ISEB Foundation Certificate in Green IT is a really good starting point. This link to the BCS website contains more information as does the Sysop website.

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