I’m must back from the 2011 COUP Conference which was held at St Andrew’s University in Scotland. While procurement is only part of my role as the SUSTE-TECH project manager, I found the sessions quite informative. The information given at the sessions are likely to prove useful as this project continues. I gave a short presentation on the results of the SUSTE-TECH participants Green ICT Action plans and why it was JISC funded this project (and indeed the other 33 Greening of ICT projects). I also included a short demonstration on the use of the Suste-IT tool and encouraged the procurement managers to forward onto their institution’s energy, sustainable and ICT managers a copy of the tool and information on the SUSTE-TECH project.
The main points I included was that procurement managers should be looking to
1. purchase fewer pieces of ICT equipment (per institution)
2. purchase pieces of equipment that last longer and
3. that consumes less energy when in use.
Procurement managers also need to check with suppliers to see if they have the necessary environmental information on their products such as the air miles, ecological footprint, embodied energy, types of materials being used during manufacture and the status of those materials. i.e. are they renewable or is there a finite supply that is being depleted. A show of hands at the session indicated that quite a few procurement managers are actively involved in their institutions environmental committee but many are not. (This, coincidentally, was similar to the results of the ICT managers survey that was circulated last year). The most important message I’d hoped to leave with procurement managers was the importance of teaming up with energy, environmental and ICT managers to complete (and update accordingly) the Suste-IT tool and use the results to demonstrate potential savings by simply switching to more sustainable ICT equipment. In fact, I showcased how the 12th tab of the Suste-IT tool gives a one page analysis of all the necessary information to convince a financial manager of the need for using more sustainable ICT equipment. Hopefully procurement managers will have been inspired to work more closely with their environmental committees and continue to play their part in carbon reduction and in cost savings for their institution.