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What’s CSR Got To Do With IT? #708/08/10

Six weeks ago I started this series of blogs in the lead up to the itSMF Australia National Conference being held on 23-25 August at the New Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

My keynote presentation at this years conference is entitled:

What’s CSR Got To Do With IT?

IT Service Management and Corporate Social Responsibility

You can access the full conference programme at the itSMF website here.

This is post #7.

In the previous posts we looked at the link between CSR and IT and why it is so high on the CEO agenda. We looked at what it means to the CIO and where the pressure to respond to the demands of CSR was coming from.

I suggested that there are four key areas that the CIO should have on his/her agenda in order to underpin the agenda of the CEO in relation to CSR.

These are integration; transparency;  employees and green IT.

This week I will look at the last of those – green IT.

It goes without saying that the CIO is being looked at to reduce the carbon footprint of the organisation. IT contributes more than 2% of global C02 emissions.

The typical desktop PC wastes about half of the power it draws from a power outlet. On average servers waste 30-40 percent of the power they require. The majority of this unused energy is wasted as heat and never reaches the processor, memory, disks, or other components. As a result, offices and data centers have increased demands on cooling, which in turn increases energy requirements and associated costs.

Comatose equipment can account for as much as 15-30% of the total IT equipment in many data centres. (Brill & Stanley, 2009).

Over half of Sun’s 2007 $55 (US) million utility bill was from labs and datacenters running hardware comprised of old energy hogs. As a result, Sun started the Bring Out Your Dead program. BOYD asks managers to round up the outdated and orphaned hardware draining energy and unplug them.

So far more than 6,000 devices four years or more old and powered up full time have been unplugged. Consider that a single server running 24/7 creates about the same amount of CO2 as a car driven for a year, and may cost as much as $7,000 (US) in energy. (SUN, 2009).

Server utilisation can be as low as 2-4%. (Kadam, 2010).

The CIO will be called upon to provide accurate measurement and comprehensive reporting on the contribution by IT to the carbon footprint of the organisation. Measurement and management systems will be a priority.

The CIO will be expected to be able to demonstrate compliance to legislation and active management of initiatives to reduce energy consumption, whilst at the same time saving costs.

Focus areas will include power management systems; improved design of products, services and processes; re-use and recycling of components; management of waste; data management; demand and capacity management; facilities management encompassing not only the data centre but all computer facilities including disaster recovery sites; end-to-end monitoring; data protection and recovery; and security and compliance.

Add to this a need to reduce travel through improved collaboration tools and remote working solutions, management of stakeholder expectations and perceptions, active and timely communication and reporting, management of the end-to-end supply chain for both products and services, management of all suppliers and manufacturers ensuring support and alignment of the organisations CSR policy……and the pressure on most definitely ON.

Next week I will look at how IT Service Management has a key part to play in the support of the organisation’s CSR policy.

Karen Ferris is a Director at Macanta Consulting.