IT departments must exploit technology in a commercially productive way for the benefit of the entire business, and in a sustainable way for the benefit of the environment, according to an article in IT-Director by Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca. According to Bamforth, there are 3 areas of focus – reduce, replace and reuse:
Reduce energy consumption and resources used by taking a holistic view across the organization. As well as focusing on the savings that can be made in power efficient technologies, look to virtualize resources that can be shared across an organization rather than working at the department level. The goal is to reduce total space, energy consumption and waste of both raw material and energy, and as a result reduce complexity, risk and ultimately, costs.
Replace inefficient business and IT processes with efficient ones. Instead of moving people and physical goods, wherever possible move information. Invest in communications infrastructure, rather than transport and travel. Digitized assets and communication not only reduces costs, but increases flexibility and lowers the carbon footprint. Centralizing and virtualizing IT resources increases utilization, reduces costs and allows smaller incremental future investments.
Extending the lifetime beyond initial deployment plans delays replacement costs and reduces waste. Services and products that can be partitioned and modularized can be more easily disassembled for re-use.
The key to a truly sustainable environmental proposition is how it combines the commercial needs of the business with the broader environmental imperatives.