Since your firm utilizes a large ICT component to operate business, it is by default responsible for part of the 2% Global GHG emissions, and you can do something about lowering that number through more efficient servers, better power supplies, virtualization and more. Everything else ’emitted’ accounts for the 98%, which ICT can also impact positively. Gartner (2008) states that ICT can also target the 98% of GHG emissions through building solutions that reduce the need for travel or transportation, or by using renewable energy to power their operations, as an example. All over the world, IT is playing an increasingly important role – in both business and individuals’ private lives. It is also consuming ever great amounts of energy and is therefore the source of significant CO2 emissions. Did you know that IT now causes the release of as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as nearly 320 million cars? According to some calculations, the worldwide IT now generates CO2 emissions of about 600 million metric tons a year! 6 SSPC firm can be part of the solution through modifications to equipment, power management, server utilization and modernizations, work style embracing remote technologies, awareness through corporate vision inclusion of green ICT, management of operations assessment, metrics and actions. The use of policy, procedural and governance can be used to encourage supply chain awareness and support for those who already adhere to green ICT strategies. Some of the influences within the supply chain would be the choice to use Energy Star certified workstation, monitors, servers and peripherals, utilizing ECOS plug load solutions (EPLS) procurement guidelines and reaching your staff and clients through support, teaching and serving in a more conscientious manner.
There are five dimension of Green IT Readiness (according to Molla et al, 2009): attitude, policy, practice, governance and technology 7
A discussion of the assessed ICT impacts from SSPC accounting firm current operations, policies, futures and assets follows, identifying any problems associated with current practices that may lead to undesirable CO2 emissions. A proposal for improved business ICT processes that are specific to your firm and that are based on established standards proven practice or projected developments will follow. Some of the proposed developments may come with challenges for the organization to face and so these challenges will be identified. The success of the proposal will depend 100% on the implementation of any of the action items proposed in this report. To be a successful carbon neutral company will take a great deal of adherence to the principles outlined in…but smaller successes and wins will be important steps along the way and these will be measured by the savings from carbon emission reductions, shifts towards more positive attitudes of stakeholders and employees, and depending on how many measures are implemented with metrics att ached, there could conceivably be a comparative to the baseline from year to year to prove ongoing success. The SSPC accounting firm should also realize direct cost savings from ICT emissions saved through the proposed “low hanging fruit” changes at the very least, if all other variables such as energy costs themselves, demand and usage are constant over the course of a year.
Challenges for SSPC Accounting Firm to move towards greener ICT:
One of the biggest challenges in moving an organization forward strategically to address climate change and environmental sustainability is convincing employees and shareholders that this is something the organization is serious about and something they should care about in their professional lives (Gartner, 2008)
Tools, Frameworks and Resources
There are tools and frameworks to draw upon for help communicate about and make choices about ICT suppliers, products and protocols when dealing with shareholders, vendors, employees, clients, and ICT service providers. In preparing this report for your firm, multiple resources were consulted for information on best practices for your firm to undergo changes to greener ICT. One resource was a framework that illustrated that Green IT/ICT can do two things: Minimize the negative environmental effects of ICT technology and technology services throughout their lifecycles and to ensure the maximum of the positive impacts of employing ICT technology and services. (Gartner,2008) The framework discussed by Gartner (2008) outlines objectives from five sections: environmental basics, supply chain basics, carbon basics, carbon delivery, carbon champions. Environmental basics are focussed inward and involve: environmental policy, environmental impact assessments, objective of compliance, Environmental management system and ISO14001 certification, Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) registration, staff training and engagement, transparency, and management of waste. Supply chain basics look at: responsibility for the management of environmental issues in the supply chain, staff training, climate change in contract adjudication, environmental assessment of physical supply chain and service value chain, and environmental audits of service providers and suppliers. The Carbon Basics part of the framework suggests that there may be housekeeping issues for the firm to contend with: do they have an assigned person for dealing with the climate issues? Do they report on emissions? The following areas need to be looked at, internally: analysis of GHG sources, governance associated with climate change strategy, verification, reporting and managing of GHG emissions, setting GHG targets, and reducing emissions and reporting on. Does your firm have publicity, promotion or support for internal practices supporting climate change? Raising awareness is critical
Green ICT Solutions Proposal for SSPC Accounting Firm
? Changing Habits, Attitudes, Awareness and Vision
• To do this, the firm would need to first identify their current expectations surrounding use of ICT equipment and its impact on the local and global climate. Next would be to identify status quo and then communicate an action plan to the staff and clients, where you expect buy in and cooperation. Once this is in place, it becomes easier to harvest the ‘low hanging fruit’ **(see power management section below). Once this knowledge is in place you can implement measurement mechanisms and review selection process for optimal utilization of and reduction in energy consumption and waste throughout the company. The internal awareness begins with the leadership and involves reengineering ICT infrastructure and support for business incentives. Training staff and colleagues and changing policies will help to improve responsibility and an earth aware internal community. Externally, you can choose to impact clients and vendors through the choices you make and publicize as well as showing you care about support efforts that your vendors and clients are making.
? Metrics for assessment and Action
• Through the process of identifying measurement mechanisms during the change of attitudes you will inevitably be confronted with life cycle assessments (LCA) of the ICT products your firm uses. Often doing an impact assessment is a good starting point. Understanding and creating a checklist of ISO140001, EMS, EMAS and other relevant certifications or even just guidelines is important for the creation of focussed, specific and measurable assessment of before, during and after the carbon impact reducing measures your firm takes. There should also be targets and a sense of transparency that can be made publicly available. Action to the end of publicly reporting your metrics (such as internal recycling programs, use of electricity, energy savings, green vendors you support, carbon offset programs you are involved in) on your website, as an example is a good way to lead in the accountability of green ICT, no different than you are used to for the GAAP standards that public CPA firms across Canada are held to.
? Supply Chain
• For improvements in the supply chain’s carbon footprint reduction, the firm can repurpose, reuse, and recycle e-waste from old computer equipment and other electronics.
• Knowing which vendors, service providers and manufacturers are making efforts towards reducing their own carbon footprint and making a conscious effort to select from these companies and their products on principal as part of your new policy will go a long way in the firm’s green recoverability.
• For the SSPC firm, there are 4 primary procurement and subsequent LCA supply chains to consider: 1) Hardware – computer equipment, peripherals, AV equipment, various electronic appliances, 2) Software – moving to increased cloud based equipment and services for storage on green cloud service providers, 3) Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Utilities Providers – moving to ISPs and utility companies who support Green ICT or who have renewable energy sources would help the overall long-term supply chain impacts, and 4) Paper supplies although not an IT product itself, it is interwoven intimately with the equipment that prints on it. So, by reducing the way we print and how much we print by choosing more electronic document formats, decreasing the amount of paper utilized and decreasing the amount of plastic created and garbage.
• Life cycle assessments are important because they are the best way to begin to understand the environmental burden of products and services through their ‘life’. LCA systematically measures material and energy inputs, outputs and associated environmental impacts for complete life cycle. With the insight from LCA, we can determine what specifically needs to improve and where n the value chain we need to do so at the firm.
• Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have complex supply chains, making LCA difficult and complex but it can be done. Fujia, Ericson and Nokia have all lead the way in full LCA, resulting in good templates for other computer-based companies and end-users to follow suit.
? Procurement Strategies:
• Choose to purchase Energy Star Qualified Products and EPEAT (epeat.net) Registered Computers and Monitors (use the Energy star calculators to determine estimated savings on energy and money savings) 10
• Light fixtures and bulbs – LED
• LED monitors
• Office Equipment products (Energy star computers, displays, signage, copiers, fax, MFD, Printers, Scanners etc.)
• Use the Energy Star procurement template (see example)
• Use green procurement language in requests and quotes and educate vendors and personnel
• Some Recommended Products for your firm:
• MFP Copiers: Ricoh Aficio MP C3002, Ricoh Aficio MP C4502, Ricoh Aficio MP4002
• Individual behavior changes in decreased use, creating less demand for more procurement is one easy to impact strategy
• When procurement of equipment and services is required for maintenance or utility then smart green procurement practices should be followed in the selection process. To do this your firm can research and select green vendors, look for functionality and specifications that are energy efficient and not wasteful or requiring GHG impactful maintenance.
? Use Strategies:
? Energy efficiency improvements of network equipment in constant operations
? Procurement, Use and Disposal policies to include accountability for life cycle
? Thin clients could be used instead of desktop or workstation style computers
? Outsourcing of some equipment could work, for email server, as an example
? Making more efficient use of equipment – for example, turning the copier OFF overnight
? Power Management **low hanging fruit
• Better power management strategies and lower stand-by power consumption of user equipment will make the quickest and biggest impact for the firm as you embark on the green ICT path.
• By using sleep settings on computers to reduce electricity use (cuts electricity use and saves approximately $50 per computer per year, so for a firm with approximately 30 computers, you are looking at a savings of $1500 per year for this one small change)
• Save energy in the server room by:
• Airflow adjustments
• Virtualizing more
• Consolidating equipment
• Data Storage management – use less storage
• More efficient servers, Smart UPS (you have already, but there are other models that are even more efficient on energy consumption),
• Switching to LED lighting in server room and workstation areas (by switching to LED you look at extending the lifetime of light utilization to 50,000 hours versus the 1,200 hours of utility out of incandescent lighting)
• Switching printer settings to duplex will help save paper waste towards preventing deforestation
• Converting to an online fax service instead of traditional manual paper faxes can save hardware, toner and paper from reaching landfills and consuming unnecessary energy
? Server Virtualizations and modernizations
• More efficiently used servers with better supporting infrastructure can be attained for the firm by moving to a ‘green’ cloud (one where the cloud-based server farm is powered with renewable power source) because it decreases the amount of IT infrastructure that the office needs and because computing power is shared across concentrated high efficiency data centers.
i.e. Oracle, SQL, Application, Email, File, Print, and Virtual servers all on one physical server either in a cloud data center or even on site at the firm (choose one server with multiple redundant backup data storage drives instead of multiple individual servers with individual functionality). SSPC firm currently virtualizes all except the domain controller, print server and email server. The current virtualizations work for the most part in reducing the carbon footprint, however, by moving the Exchange email server to a cloud-based service will prove to be a more effective long-term solution both for storage of data and in the carbon impact.
? Working Style Enhancements
? By encouraging colleagues and staff to work remotely, telework, and to have virtual assistants, your firm can reduce energy waste from unnecessary offices being occupied, reduce paper printing due to the ease of PDF printing, and save time, money and carbon footprint due to keeping gas powered vehicles off the road for the commute to and from the office.
? Holding virtual meetings with clients more, especially for those who live out of town can be beneficial to both the client and the firm for the gas mileage saved from greenhouse gas emissions as well as keeping relationships connected
? Moving towards more electronic documentation, e-signatures and so on, instead of paper use, is a big component to enhancing current practices.
? End of Life Strategies;
• Use recyclers predefined for the area: eCycle Solutions Ltd, GEEP Alberta Inc. for all electronic waste.
Though I have mentioned several ways to implement greener ICT in your SSPC accounting firm, it is also important to recognize that there are still areas of further research to impart. The ICT industry needs a standardized approach and methodology for LCAs. More interindustry partnerships for innovation to experience freedom from limiting innovation to experience freedom from limiting innovation and providers’ capability to profit from a low-carbon solution.
The firm might consider beginning a carbon accounting program not only for the firm’s own carbon accounting but also starting a carbon accounting division of service for the clients of the firm. This could be a lucrative service for both parties given that there are no other carbon accounting services in your geographical area upon initial research conducted for this study. To begin with your carbon accounting program, you will want to consult the ISO14064-1: 2006. This GHG Carbon Accounting protocols will show how there is entity accounting, project accounting and product accounting. As the energy conservation strategy in green computing will be the relationship between the physical computer and its impact to the environment that it moves through during its entire lifecycle. The lifecycle goes through the origin, Use, Reuse and Refurbishing and Recycling. Carbon accounting takes into consideration the origin of the materials that went into component manufacturing (whether they are toxic, recycled or new), by products produced (effluents) in manufacturing process, assembly methods (is disassembly easy at end of life), packaging used for components storage and shipping (recycled or new materials and whether it is recyclable). Carbon accounting looks at the use of the equipment as far as power consumption, interface with user, life cycle, consumables required to maintain. Carbon accounting looks at Reuse and Refurbish potential where components can be reallocated as supplies during a recycling program, that their s responsible and safe disposal of toxic components. During carbon accounting, it is determined the CO2 travelled from point of origin for all components plus fuel consumed to get all components to the end destination.
As you are familiar with in the GAAP guidelines for accounting, you will find similar overarching principles in the principles set out by GHG Protocol Corporate Standard and ISO 14064 ; ISO14040 that are recommended for your calculations when doing carbon accounting. These Carbon Accounting Principles 8 are:
Once the accounting is done to capture the carbon footprint inputs, you then would want to figure out the carbon offsets by using National Carbon Offset Standard. The National Carbon Offset Standard sets for the following requirements that must be met to complete a carbon offset 8:
3. Measurable – This can be done by establishing emissions boundaries (using scope 1 to 3 of the National Carbon Offset Standard), cataloging emissions sources within the boundary, setting a base year, collecting data on identified emissions sources and calculating total carbon accounting attributable to your firm. Note: scope 1 is Direct emissions by the firm doing the accounting, including facilities, vehicles, computers. Scope 2 is Indirectly purchased electricity or heat and is easy to quantify. Scope 3 is indirect for hiring companies for services such as IT support, Internet Service Provider and Phone Equipment Service companies and the energy that those companies use in their vehicles to serve you and to bring the service itself to you.
5. Addresses Leakage
6. Independently Audited
There are areas for future research and improvements where the ICT industry itself, needs a standardized approach and methodology for LCAs. More interindustry partnership for innovation is also needed to experience freedom from limiting innovation and provide the capability to profit from a low carbon economy. ICT, energy, automotive logistics, facilities management, government are industries who all need to raise more awareness publicly to support Greenhouse Gas reduction measures, encourage action and support climate change campaigns. Those areas for improvement are more far reaching than just your firm’s greening of ICT goals, however, should you implement a carbon accounting program for your clients, who inevitably may be involved with one of these industries needing improvements, then you are indirectly impacting further carbon offsets and making important positive influence on inspiring others to carry the green flag toward reducing our global carbon footprint. To conclude, the simple things that your firm can do to reduce your carbon footprint are to 1) Measure by preparing a carbon accounting program, 2) Reduce emissions where possible by smart procurement, use and end of life handling, 3) Offset by arranging for eligible offset units to compensate for remaining emissions, 4) Reporting your intentions, analytics, plans to offset and reductions in emissions against the base year starting point, and 5) Advocate and actively support other organizations who are making efforts to reduce carbon footprint.