Technology Business Research’s (TBR) quarterly report highlights different sustainability strategies at three major global companies: Dell, CSC and Cisco. The analysis covers Dell’s product design and manufacturing strategy, CSC’s scorecard for managing stakeholder expectations and Cisco’s plan to virtualize “green” IT.
TBR finds that Dell has an extensive strategy for making products that are energy efficient and manufacturing them with as little environmental impact as possible. The computer maker’s Environmental Management Policy includes product design, pollution prevention, continual improvement, responsibility and regulatory compliance. As examples, for product design, some of the areas Dell focuses on include extending the product’s useful life, reducing energy consumption, avoiding environmentally sensitive materials and using recyclable parts.
TBR also identifies five key strategies for Dell’s product development and manufacturing:
— Develop and manufacture energy-efficient strategies
— Make it easier for customers to embrace green IT
— Make it easier for customers to recycle products
— Reduce the environmental impact of product delivery
— Create a community of sustainability stakeholders
Some recent efforts by Dell include the development of energy-efficient rack enclosures, Energy Star 5.0 PCs, and packaging made from bamboo and post-consumer recycled materials. Dell also helped establish a green label, along with other electronics suppliers and retailers, to help consumers identify green electronics.
At CSC, the global IT services provider has created a scorecard to help companies assess and communicate their sustainability strategy. The tool consists of 12 questions that form the foundation for either a first-time Corporate Sustainability Report (CSR) or improvements in an existing CSR, says TBR. Questions range from a company’s carbon and water footprint to complying with global regulations and investor requirements.
TBR says outside audits can boost the credibility of a company’s environmental claims. But if companies fail to submit third-party audits they run the risk of being criticized by sustainability experts and environmentalists, says TBR.
Over the past year, CSC has focused on programs such as energy reduction, waste management, and IT equipment reuse and recycling. The IT provider has implemented several measures to reduce energy consumption including the use of power savers that has reduced electricity consumption by 11 percent. The company is committed to reducing overall facility energy use by 30 percent (per 2008 cost baselines).
TBR says Cisco is planning to ramp up its sales efforts for its 10 gigabit per second Ethernet (10GigE) products thanks to improvements in semiconductor manufacturing that are lowering the price of 10GigE. If Cisco is able to make 10GigE an industry standard for datacenter computing, it will have a significant impact on green computing, spurring virtualization of the datacenter by opening virtual platforms to a much wider variety of applications, says TBR.
This could translate into average server utilization rates in excess of 80 percent, thus having a positive environmental impact — reducing the need for physical servers, which reduces floor space requirements and cooling costs, according to the report.
A recent study shows that the IT industry can expect virtualization to dramatically reduce energy use and hardware investments.
Cisco launched its Data Center 3.0 program with virtualization in March last year.