Going green with ICT
A new Economist Intelligence Unit study explores how information and communications technology (ICT) can be used to reduce organisations’ carbon-dioxide emissions
Information and communications technology (ICT) can do much to help companies achieve their carbon reduction targets, particularly by enabling them to connect international operations while reducing the need for executives to travel.
However, a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (sponsored by AT&T and Cisco), found that most corporate carbon reduction strategies ignore the role of ICT in achieving these targets.
Of the 345 C-level executives polled for this survey, 18% say their companies have a carbon reduction strategy, and a further 39% are in the process of developing one. Of those that have a carbon reduction strategy, or are in the process of developing one, nearly half say that no mention is made of ICT. This is surprising given that the majority of those polled believe that senior management is aware of the potential of ICT to help achieve carbon-reduction goals.
The green benefits
It is clear from this survey that IT chiefs are well positioned inside their companies to promote the green benefits of ICT. While most survey panellists agree that the CIO should not lead carbon reduction initiatives, they should at least play an important consultative role in advising on the best use of technology to cut emissions. However, at present, only half the organisations polled said the CIO is consulted when it comes to developing the company’s carbon reduction strategy.
According to Robin Bew, Editorial Director at the Economist Intelligence Unit, “There is a lot of talk about reducing carbon footprints in today’s organisations, but not much action. Putting technology to work in this endeavour offers a simple, effective way to move from rhetoric to action.”
Pressure to change
Most companies say that the pressure to be more green is coming from government and customers. Contrary to what many people believe, very little pressure is coming from shareholders and employees.
Web and video conferencing
Web and video conferencing are the most popular technology tools for reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint. Part of the attraction of audio, video and web-conferencing is that it is easy to measure the resulting reduction miles.
Home-working is not widely adopted, despite the tools being available. However, Braden Allenby, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Arizona State University, has found that a lot of home working goes on under the radar. Allenby states that home working is often ad-hoc and given as a perk to select individuals, but most survey respondents believe that many more people will work from home in two years’ time.
[Copyright Expatica 2008]