The IT industry is greening up. We've seen that happening across the board. But while they tout all the wonderful things they're doing to conserve energy, prevent e-waste, cut back on the use of hazardous materials and so on, Capegemini who works with the biggest companies on a daily basis had a hard time find third party reports to back up these claims. So, they decided to take on the task of analyzing what the industry is really doing.
Capegemini talked with Google, EMC2, HP, Intel, Sun Microsystems, and IBM to create a report illustration what has occurred in the past, what is happening now, and what to expect in the future. Capegemini's Global Outsourcing Sustainability Advisor, Brian Doherty spoke with us about some of the major elements of the report and what it really means when the IT industry says, "We're Going Green!"From the report:
A recent Gartner publication revealed that the IT industry's global carbon footprint — at 2% — was equivalent to that of the under-fire airline industry. The big challenge facing the IT industry is to continue to develop products that consume less electricity, emit less heat, and can be manufactured efficiently and ethically and also to meet the increasing demands of the rest of industry to help it resolve its own carbon-reduction challenges.
Where IT Companies Are Focusing
There are two main areas, Doherty pointed out, where all the companies are focusing. The first is the legislative channel and meeting the various requirements of the countires in which they operate. Some companies are setting top standards, such as HP which takes the toughest standard set in a certain area by a country and applies that to the work done in every country in which they operate. However, there are many companies that don't look at a global standard for their product development.
The second area of focus is in research and development to create truly sustainable products, services, and methods of operation. It isn't just marketing that the companies try to green up — it goes deeper, thankfully. A view of their products from cradle-to-cradle is taken seriously.
From the report:
the need to present a corporate strategy and identity that are both green and promote sustainability is not limited to the confines of a given organization. Increasingly, emphasis and attention is spreading beyond the facilities of the organization to incorporate what happens before production (the supply chain) and what happens post-production and at product end-of-life.
Two areas that all the participating companies recognized they needed improvement in were transportation and logistics.
How Often Improvement Can Be Measured
While Doherty feels that a report like this is justified every six months or so due to the rate at which companies progress, practically speaking this can be accomplished only about once a year. We look forward to the next go-around and to seeing progress made by companies across the board.
A few highlights from the report:
• All partners procure at least some of the electricity used in the manufacturing process from renewable sources.
• Capgemini's partners demonstrated a commitment to improving their practices in the field of logistics.
• All of Capgemini's technology partners adhere to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (2002/96/EC) (WEEE) and the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (2002/95/EC) (RoHS) directives.
• Long before the phrase "corporate social responsibility" was coined, all of Capgemini's corporate partners had comprehensive policies relating to staff welfare — in many cases to comply with predominantly European legislation — and were active in local communities. All pursued philanthropic initiatives both through their employees and as a corporate policy.
• All of Capgemini's technology partners are active in the development of servers and storage devices that are less power hungry and run cooler than equivalent products some years ago.
The report can be viewed at Capgemini
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