Sustainability in IT


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  • -Sustainability has become a wide-ranging term that can be applied to almost every facet of life on Earth, from a local to a global scale-Shareholders expect your company to generate profits. But, they also want your company to make a positive contribution to society while minimizing any negative effect it might have on the environment. This approach to business—balancing economic interests against social and environmental concerns—is commonly referred to as sustainability.-IT sustainability involves incorporating energy-efficient technologies and practices into everyday business tasks, and promoting effective recyclability and telecommuting strategies. These efforts are all designed to aid in the development of a healthier, cleaner living space for all generations of people around the world. Sustainable activities are vital to human health, agriculture and the Earth's water supply. All living things could be affected in a negative way and alter our state of living if we do not act proactively to help stave off greenhouse gas emissions through IT sustainability efforts.-Innumerable discussions have been going on in every business sector about green IT and green initiatives – going green is not a fancy initiative but rather an absolute necessity for survival. What had been ignored for years is gathering momentum, with no alternative in sight. 
  • -Government involvement: As noted by Information Management’s website – “green reporting is going to be as mandatory as any other financial reporting.” So businesses will need to keep a close eye on their carbon footprint.-Today, the term “carbon footprint” is often used as shorthand for the amount of carbon (usually in tons) being emitted by an activity or organization. The carbon component of the Ecological Footprint takes a slightly differing approach, translating the amount of carbon dioxide into the amount of productive land and sea area required to sequester carbon dioxide emissions. This tells us the demand on the planet that results from burning fossil fuels. -Corporate America is coming to grips with the need for social responsibility and sustainability like never before. Faced with a quadruple whammy of high energy costs, environmental pressures, downturn cost-cutting, and the need for growth, companies need help to navigate through the perfect storm. Gartner predicted recently that nearly 50 percent of data centers worldwide would have trouble finding the electricity to power and cool their computing equipment. And the EPA states that over the next five years, power failures and limited availability will stop operations at more than 90 percent of data centers. The percentage of electricity used by datacenters in the US is expected to nearly double by 2011 from 2006 levels. All this adds up to a sobering reality that the cost and limitations of energy sources alone are enough to drive companies to embrace greener computing models.In enterprise IT, ecological issues are front and center. Exponential increases in power and cooling costs combined with exploding demand for increased computing throughput in the data center are creating the need for more efficient, high-performance solutions. “Power consumption is the big ticket item that the IT department is most able to address significantly. The challenge is, that unlike a personal green approach, where we modify our lifestyles to reduce our carbon footprint, a green IT approach must still maintain or even increase the level of service provided to our organizations by IT while reducing its carbon footprint,” according to recent TechNews article.-Responsible leadership is incorporating the good of others and the earth into your business strategy so you are giving a good example of how to be sustainable not only in your business area but to the environment.-Does your company practice responsible leadership?Over the past decade, sustainability has moved from the fringes of the business world to the top of shareholders' agenda. The concept of sustainability has gained traction among corporate employees, regulators, and customers, too. Consequently, any miscalculation or misjudgment of matters related to sustainability can have serious repercussions on how the world judges your company and values its shares.“A more recent report by GMA and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) indicates that companies that employ sustainability practices and share sustainability data generally experience higher gross margins and return on sales, higher return on assets, and stronger cash flow and rising shareholder return.” According to Greenbiz.-Being green can help a company to become more competitive in their market; Money saved by using green initiatives, printing fewer reports for example, can be put to better use for research, advertising, marketing and innovation. So in a sense it allows for better allocation of resources. The Global Footprint Network for example talks about a Footprint for Business: “Businesses that look ahead and actively manage their ecological risks and opportunities can gain a strong competitive advantage. The Ecological Footprint is being used to help corporations improve their market foresight, set strategic direction, manage performance and communicate their strengths. By providing a common unit, the Footprint helps business to establish benchmarks, set quantitative targets and evaluate alternatives for future activities. The Footprint is compatible with all scales of company operations, and provides both aggregated and detailed results.Ecological Footprint analysis reveals where regions, industrial sectors and companies will face increasing limits in resources such as energy, forest, croplands, pastures and fisheries. It also helps identify strategies that will succeed in a resource-constrained world, including products and services that will be most needed in the future. “
  • IT can transform business practices and support companies in their sustainability effortsMany pursue sustainability projects to do the right thingCompanies can also reap measured financial rewards in the so called Triple Bottom Line of profit, human capital and natural resourcesIT is a drain on energy resourcesHowever, IT can also improve power management Sustainability Spotlight: Intel’s EcoTechnology Group decreased energy consumption through, among other things, spearheading an effort that reorganized their data center network into eight global hubs, which eliminated 18 data centers. They rated the remaining hubs using the Green Grid’s “power usage effectiveness” index and found that twice as much power was going into some of the data centers as was being used. They brought these numbers down by bringing in outside air to cool computers and separating the hot air being expelled from computers so it didn’t unnecessarily heat indoor space.
  • It is true that IT is a major drain on energy resources. However, IT can also improve power management through simple measures, such as having lights or computers shut off automatically at set times, or setting room temperatures to an automated schedule, bring significant savings.Companies are also undertaking much more complex power reduction strategies
  • IT contributes only 2% to global carbon emission Using IT tools, groups are looking to take the 2% associated with computing, and apply those technologies to the other 98% Companies are now leveraging IT capabilities to facilitate sustainability initiatives across the entire business enterprise. This includes decreasing carbon emissions through fleet management, paperless billing, construction and facility management, and data integration.
  • Applying improved monitoring and control of corporate fleets can lead to significant reductions in carbon emissions. Real time tracking of delivery routes using GPS helps fleets of trucks to operate more efficiently Companies can save as much as 15% in fuel expenses by limiting the speed of their trucks to 62 mph. Sustainability Spotlight: UPS has a well-established Information and Technology Strategy Committee that developed the Package Flow tracking system technology. The original goal of the program was to expedite deliveries, but the company quickly realized environmental benefits as well. By adjusting the routes, the company minimized the number of left turns that drivers had to make, greatly reducing carbon emission from engines idling while vehicles waited to turn. In 2008 UPS reduced delivery routes by 30,000,000 miles, equivalent to a savings of 3,000,000 gallons of fuel and 32,000 tons of carbon emissions. They estimate the value of the initiative at $188 per driver, which translates into total annual savings of more than $17,000,000.
  • At 47% of total carbon emissions, construction, operation, and decommissioning of buildings is the largest contributing activity in carbon emissionsTo be truly eco friendly, environmental issues should be taken into consideration at the earliest planning stages of a new office complex. Sustainability Spotlight: Shanghai Tower, will be the most sustainable skyscraper in the world when it is completed in 2014. At 128 floors, the building will have two “skins” with an airy inner atrium surrounding the core structure. “We’re designing it like a Thermos bottle that’s close to 2,100 feet tall”. The top of the office building will have a wind farm of 54 vertical-axis wind turbines generating 540,000 KWH of electricity per year – enough to power 400 homes. There will also be systems to collect rainwater and condensation. These and other sustainability elements will be computer controlled and linked through a variety of enterprise and application software that will be controlled by the building’s owner. “We couldn’t do what we do today without IT” Mr. Strabala, owner of Shanghai Tower & Construction
  • Eliminating paper bills is an obvious way to cut costs and ease strain on the environment. Reduces logging, paper processing, and the fuel consumption associated with transporting bills and payments. Paper checks account for an estimated 672,000,000 gallons of fuel and reduces 3,630,000 tons of carbon in the atmosphere according to Dove Consulting Group.Paper mail is also the largest customer dissatisfier according to local company Fidelity Investments, so becoming sustainable could increase customer satisfaction.  Sustainability Spotlight: Con Edison, New York City’s electric utility, began a campaign in 2007 to migrate customers to paperless billing. Their aggressive green campaign involved not only traditional billing but marketing, finance, website, public affairs, and advertising. Con Edison provides a conservation calculator on its website to help customers to understand these benefits. By eliminating three paper bills per month, each consumer can each save 3.6 lbs of paper and 35 gallons of wastewater annually, prevent the discharge of 122 lbs of greenhouse gases and eliminate 122 vehicle transport miles.
  • Business intelligence has two main sustainability functionsTo make the right decisions for sustainability initiatives, executives need useful, trusted and timely information. Companies can also reduce waste by optimizing data through “data deduplication”, a data quality initiative that reduces the number of times a piece of information exists in the system, such as different spellings or versions of a customer’s name. This not only reduces the overall size of the database but also reduces the processing requirements and the paper waste that can accumulated due to duplicated data.  Sustainability Spotlight: SAS IT Resource Management provides a holistic view of all IT assets and can accurately track utilization rates and forecast resource requirements. This allows the reduction of data center facilities and energy consumption though “rightsizing”. SAS also provides technology to create and maintain scorecards and dashboards that monitor essential IT performance. By including green metrics such as power consumption and carbon footprint, IT executives can track and tune their eco-performance.
  • -Some Steps to start with Green IT (From Green Business Intelligence: Turning green to Gold):*Have a dedicated green team*Have a common consensus on the green metrics*Green your infrastructure management*Achieve quick wins for green-Steps to sustainability forIntel:Wedevelopeda sustainability framework and defined associated IT sustainability initiatives along with a set of metrics to measure and help ensure success. Our challenge to develop sustainable IT practices encompassed: *Establishing a roadmap and baselines. *Addressing consumption and waste.*Setting challenging goals.*Redesigning our business processes.*Encouraging participation.-As you have seen, corporate sustainability is synonymous with corporate survival. Surprisingly, that message is not getting through to many CEOs. Only half of the businesses recently polled on a global survey of corporate sustainability reported having a formal sustainability strategy. The survey also showed with such strategies were more focused on improving public perceptions or responding to increased regulation, than meeting broader societal needs or generating revenue opportunities. More than 75 percent of the respondents said sustainability was an important part of their organization’s corporate strategy, or would become so in the future. But a string of reports indicates companies need to spend less time thinking about sustainability and more time putting it into action. CEOs made up the majority of respondents of the poll developed by the Vandiver Group, an award-winning strategic communications firm, and sponsored by PR firm Pinnacle Worldwide. This is ironic, because the same study shows that CEOs are the primary drivers of sustainability decisions, with communications and public affairs managers rarely in that role. in an enterprise can mean small adjustments or a major reorientation. In either case,information technology (IT) can assist. In addition to data-centre optimisation and other operationalissues such as teleworking, companies are now leveraging IT capabilities to facilitate sustainabilityinitiatives across the enterprise in new areas, including fleet management, paperless billing, andconstruction and facility management, among others.Challenges include initial costs, the sometimes lengthy periods before companies see a return oninvestment, and the need to keep up with fast-moving technology and to re‑educate employees—whetherthese be the chief executive officer or rank-and-file workers—about the benefits of sustainability. Specialattention must also be paid to ensuring transparency and good governance throughout all sustainabilityinitiatives to make sure that policies are followed and goals are met.The rewards of such efforts can be measured in lower fuel and energy costs, a more productiveworkforce and, of course, a reduction in emissions of polluting and greenhouse gases—the so-called“triple bottom line” of profit, human capital and natural resources.For sustainability initiatives to be successful, particularly in a sluggish economy, executives must leadby example while also welcoming bottom-up ideas and initiatives. Strategists should consider how allgoals, from a reduction in electricity usage to carbon neutrality, can best be supported by IT systems, andhow technology will play an integral part in the firm’s long-term strategy to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • Sustainability in IT

    1. 1. SustainabilityIs IT the Problem or the Solution?<br />Joliene Garlich ● Clayton Sanford ● Melody Smith Jones<br />
    2. 2. Sustainability: A Definition<br />What is Sustainability?<br /><ul><li>Sustainability, in a broad sense, is the capacity to endure. For humans, it is the potential for long-term maintenance of wellbeing, which in turn depends on the wellbeing of the natural world and the responsible use of natural resources.</li></ul>What does it have to do with Business, IT?<br /><ul><li>IT sustainability involves incorporating energy-efficient technologies and practices into everyday business tasks, and promoting effective recyclability and telecommuting strategies. </li></li></ul><li>Why Sustainability?<br />Government Initiatives<br /><ul><li>Define carbon footprint</li></ul>Customer & shareholder desire for responsible leadership<br /><ul><li>What is responsible leadership?
    3. 3. How is it important to business?</li></ul>A possible competitive advantage<br /><ul><li>Can being green help a business make green?</li></li></ul><li>Is IT the Problem?<br />It’s not easy being green!<br />
    4. 4. Problems in Creating Technology<br />Use of natural resources<br />Clearing of land harming wildlife and trees<br />Omission of Carbon Dioxide<br />Buildings and Energy used in production<br />
    5. 5. Problems with Using IT<br />Energy consummation<br />Pollutants used to create energy<br />Harmful Electrical Signals<br />Improper use<br />
    6. 6. Problem with Disposing of Hardware<br />Shortening lifespan<br /><ul><li>Demand for more powerful hardware
    7. 7. Donate to others that can benefit</li></ul>Improper disposal<br /><ul><li>New laws enforcing proper disposal
    8. 8. Toxins harmful to wildlife</li></li></ul><li>Case of Indirect Effects<br />Telecommuting<br /><ul><li>Inefficiencies of decentralized location
    9. 9. Larger homes, higher use of resources</li></ul>More energy consumed taking care of lawn<br />More electricity used<br />More natural gas used to heat home<br />
    10. 10. Is IT the Solution?<br />Wait a minute…IT can deliver the TripleBottomLine of profit, human capital, and natural resources!<br />
    11. 11. Decreasing Power Consumption<br />IT can improve power management through simple measures, such as having lights or computers shut off automatically at set times, or setting room temperatures to an automated schedule, bringing significant savings.<br />Sustainability Spotlight: Intel<br />
    12. 12. Reducing Carbon Emissions<br />IT contributes only 2% to global carbon emissions <br />We can apply the 2% associated with computing technology to the other 98%<br />Notable impact: <br /><ul><li>transportation and logistics
    13. 13. building construction and maintenance
    14. 14. online commerce and paperless billing
    15. 15. data integration</li></li></ul><li>Transportation and Logistics<br />Monitoring and controlingcorporate fleets<br />Real time tracking of delivery routes using GPS<br />Companies can save as much as 15% in fuel expenses by limiting the speed of their trucks to 62 mph.<br />Sustainability Spotlight: UPS<br />
    16. 16. Building Construction & Maintenance<br />Largest contributing activity in carbon emissions - 47% of total carbon emissions<br />Environmental issues should be taken into consideration at the earliest planning stages of a new office complex<br />Sustainability Spotlight: Shanghai Tower<br />
    17. 17. Online Commerce & Paperless Billing<br />Eliminating paper bills cuts costs and eases strain on the environment<br />Reduces logging, paper processing, and the fuel consumption<br />Paper mail is bad for customer service <br />Sustainability Spotlight: Con Edison<br />
    18. 18. Data Integration<br />Business intelligence has two main sustainability functions:<br /><ul><li>Provides useful, trusted, and timely informationfor sustainability initiatives
    19. 19. Reduces waste by optimizing data </li></ul>Sustainability Spotlight: SAS<br />
    20. 20. Applying Sustainability Practices<br />
    21. 21. Best Practices<br />Key steps to IT sustainability<br /><ul><li>Create a team
    22. 22. Define initiatives
    23. 23. Put initiatives into action</li></ul>Getting the CEO on board<br /><ul><li>A crucial step to success</li></ul>Using IT as model <br /><ul><li>Move sustainability through the business</li></li></ul><li>Some Green for Thought<br /><ul><li>Does your company have a formal strategy?
    24. 24. How important do you think sustainability will be to future company success?
    25. 25. How does sustainability tie into corporate governance?</li></li></ul><li>Works Cited<br />Georgetown University: IT and Sustainability at Georgetown<br />Think Ecological: IT Sustainability Imperatives in Internet and eCommerce Business<br />Intel: Building a Long Term Strategy for IT Sustainability <br />Oracle: IT and Sustainability Bringing Best Practices to Business <br />GreenBiz: Corporate Sustainability It’s All About Survival<br />PriceWaterhouseCoopers: IT and Sustainability: Is IT part of the solution or part of the problem?<br />Wikipedia: Sustainability <br />Global Footprint Network: Carbon Footprint<br />Information Management: Green Business Intelligence<br />Andrey, Jean: The Sustainability of Telework: an Econological-Footprinting Approach<br />TechRepublic: Common Sense about Green IT and Sustainability<br />Nemertes Research: Green IT and Sustainability<br />Accenture: Public Service Green IT Podcast Series <br />Economist Intelligence Unit: IT and Sustainability: Bringing Best Practices to Business<br />