Thursday, 27 October 2011

Fujitsu's ICT Sustainability : the Global Benchmark 2011 report

I was just about to blog about the Fujitsu's ICT Sustainability : the Global Benchmark  2011 report but someone beat me to it. A link to the actual report is contained in this blog. Enjoy green ICT'ers

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Results of the Procurement Managers Green ICT Survey

I've finally gotten round to examining the results of the Procurement managers survey I circulated some time ago. The number of participants in this survey was the highest so far of any survey I’ve circulated.  53 procurement managers in total took part in the survey. This may have been primarily down to the survey being advertised on the BUFDG mailing list, thereby reaching 100’s of procurement managers. It of course may also have been because each participant was automatically entered into a draw to win a £100 on line gift certificate of their choice. Either way the results are extremely valuable to procurement policy makers and FHE managers covering ICT, estates, energy and sustainability.
A summary of the results are as follows:
Survey participants had an excellent background knowledge and experience in working, not only in their current procurement roles, but in the procurement sector in general.  Almost half (47.7%) had worked for at least 5 years in their current procurement roles with almost 30% working in their current roles for up to 15 years. 43.2% of survey participants had worked in the procurement sector for more than 15 years with the remaining,  more than 40%, having anywhere between 5-15 years in the sector.
When asked how knowledgeable of environmental /sustainable issues they were, almost 63% said they were quite knowledgeable on the issue with almost 30% stating that they were very knowledgeable on the subject. Less than 10% stated that they had minimal or no knowledge of sustainable issues, therefore embedding sustainability into an institutions procurement process should be done with relative ease.
60% stated that they were part of their institutions sustainable/environmental committee which means that almost 40% were not. Of those that were on the committee more than half (52%) stated it was a voluntary decision. This is very reassuring as it indicates staff are already dedicated to improving their institutions sustainable performance. Other reasons included being asked to join (40%), and it being part of job description (24%) again indicating sustainable concerns at a higher organisational level.
When asked specifically about procuring for ICT equipment as part of their roles in the environmental committee, 60% of participants  stated that they procure for energy efficient equipment, 40% stated they procure or tender for e waste contactors, 48% stated they examine suppliers environmental credentials and almost 30% stated they examine the supply chain of ICT equipment. 24% stated they did all of the above with only 4% stating they did none of the above. This indicates active participation by procurement depts. in environmental committees.
For those that were not part of their environmental committee, 47% stated that it’s because they were not asked to join, almost 12% stated it was because they did not have the time to join and 17.6% said it was because there was no such committee at their institution.  These “no’s” could potentially be “yes’s”. However based on the comments left as part of the “no’s” answers, as other procurement colleagues are part of the environmental committee so they are in fact represented in some way. Later when questioned about being asked to be on the committee, 75% stated they would join. The remaining 25% that said “no” indicated it was only because they felt they were already being represented or because of lack of time so no real disinterest in environmental issues exist. So all in all representation by procurement managers on environmental committees is particularly good.
Separating the work done as  members of environmental committees from their roles as procurement managers, almost 83% of survey participants stated that they procure for sustainable goods because it is part of their job description with almost 17% stating they did not.  Of the 83% that procure sustainably, they do it mainly for PC’s & monitors (no surprised there) but they also procure for servers, imaging equipment and AV equipment and to a lesser extent HPC’s and phones.
As part of their roles as procurement managers (as oppose to their roles in their environmental committees) 61% of survey participants said they procure for more energy efficient equipment, 22% procure for e-Waste contractors, almost 40% procure for ICT equipment with a smaller EF and the same amount examine suppliers green credentials. 22% examine the supply chain of ICT equipment while 33% do a combination of all the above. When asked if they were aware of the “end use energy services” directive, half stated they were while the other half said they were not.  This datum indicated that  the various aspects of green ICT are covered by procurement departments although not  be everyone.
When asked about being adequately provided with sufficient information on how to best procure for the most sustainable technology, 63% of survey participants said that they were, while 36.8% said they were not. The comments on this questions included; being restricted by time to attended workshops and conferences, their institutions currently working on this area and there being too much information to choose from, leading to indecisiveness. However 54.2% of survey participants stated that they have in fact attended green ICT training events/conferences and workshops, 50%  have attended procurement training events conferences and/ or workshops and more than 45 % subscribe to Green ICT magazines, journal subscriptions etc.  The remaining 25% do all of the above with just 4% stating they are not being provided with any information on green ICT.
However of those 5%, 92% stated that having access to greener technology is something they’d be interested in, indicating willingness to improve.  
91% of survey participants stated they are allowed to offer input into their institutions procurement process with just less than 10% stating they are not.
When asked about the use of tools, almost 64% of survey participants stated that Procurement and WLC tools are used as part of their institutions procurement process, 22% did not, and the remaining 13.9% were unaware if their institution used a tool or not.  Comments on this question included WLC tools being too complex and inaccurate to get a true EF, (a topic that is often debated) but the remains of the comments covered institutions either already using WLC tools or being in the process of implementing the use of one.
Of the tools used almost 37% stated they use the SPCE flexible framework tool, only 5.3% stated they use the Forum for the Future Sustainable Procurement Tool and its WLC and CO2 tool. 47% stated they use their own institution specific procurement tool with 26.3% stating their use another tool. Comments on this question included a list of other tools being used or no tools just using their own spread sheet.
However of those stated they were not using a tool, almost 79% stated they would be interested in using one. 7% expressed no interest and the remainder stated they were unsure. Comments given as part of this question included; the possible use of a tool providing it was accurate and easy to use. 79% of those that stated they use the HE procurement framework tool felt it covered their needs for sustainable ICT while more than 20% stated that it did not.
On the carbon emission and energy efficiency question almost 85% stated that they were aware of the related government targets with more than 15% stating that they were not. Of the 20 that answered “yes” to monitoring their emissions, 16 replied with exact figures, the remaining stating that their energy/ sustainable manager had the figures. This echos the results of some of the earlier questions that indicated procurement managers strong knowledgable of sustainable issues and their willingness to champion the cause.
When asked about suppliers restrictions, more than 31% stated that they are being restricted with almost 47% stating they were not.
Almost 22% stated that they did not know. Of those that answered “yes” it was predominantly photocopiers and printers contractors that restricted their ability to be more sustainable. The remaining answer options of PC & monitors, AV equipment, Telephones, Networks, server room equipment, HPC’s and other ICT equipment had an evenly distributed percentage of between 10% and 30%.
When asked how they measure value for money when procuring for sustainable ICT, 31 survey participants replied.  They stated that measuring the overall value for money of each piece of kit included; examining the initial purchase cost, on-going running costs, disposal costs etc. The items that lives up to the standards and specifications and is the least expensive, is the item of better value.
When asked what kind of changes to the traditional procurement progress they’d like to see made, 30 participants gave a variety of answers but most had overlapping points. Those points included; procurement managers being able to see sustainability embedded more in WLC tools, less complicated tools being used, an ease on the EU procurement restrictions with more flexibility to purchase from local suppliers, thus improving carbon footprint. In short survey participants were in favour of anything that would make the procurement process less laborious and complicated and would also promote and support sustainability.
Overall the survey indicated a very good background knowledge of sustainable issues from procurement managers and a strong presence on environmental committees. When procuring for ICT equipment the most important factors such as; energy use and the life length of a product are examined. This is not surprising as obtaining value for money goes hand in hand with sustainability. However, some of the responses indicated scope for improvement and frustration at the often complex procurement processes. The results and especially the closing comments from this survey will hopefully prove useful when rethinking the procurement process.  
For a closer look at the results of the survey, please contact me directly on

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Green ICT Workshop at the University of Sydney

I’d advertised that I was hosting a green ICT workshop at the university of Sydney on Oct 4th. I  hadn’t realised that I was hosting an event in the middle of the Australian midterm break. Turnout was low but the calibre of the attendees was top notch.  Joel Turner, the University if Sydney’s environmental managers attended as did Tom Worthington and Helen Hassan. Helen is an academic on the subject, is on several related committees so her arriving at the event early gave us the opportunity to discuss the difficulties in greening an already established ICT System. One of the advantages of presenting to a low number of people was that its allowed delegates to ask questions over the course of the presentation which I felt added value by turning it into a better paced presentation.  While I considered cancelling the workshop due to low numbers, I’m glad that I decided to go ahead with it. After the workshop I had coffee with Tom Worthington and we discussed ICT systems and careers in IT etc. A thoroughly enjoyable (and productive) day !!
The following day I had a meeting with two consultants from Macanta Consulting; Breed Lewis and Karen Ferris. We discussed the services that Macanta consultancy had to offer not only SUSTE-TECH participants but indeed any UK U&C that might need to assistance in servicing and managing their ICT systems. I will be keeping in touch with both Breed and Karen we will work on how to best spread the holistic approach to green ICT. Karen is the author of the paper “from emerald green to murky brown”. This is a must read for all ICT (especially data centre managers). For more information
A Summary of the 2011 ACTS Conference.
After a warm welcome from the ACTS president Leanne Denby, Ellen Sandell the National director of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition gave a wonderful presentation on how she became interested in sustainability. It was wonderful to see so much already achieved by someone so young.
The first presentation I attended entitled “adopting a whole institution approach to EfS” was given by Charlie Hargrove. Charlie is the co-author of “Cents and Sensibility”, “Factor 5” and “Whole System Design” amongst others.  Charlie ran through all the important aspects of integrating sustainability into your organisation. It was one of those presentations you end up leaving feeling inspired with a renewed commitment to greening your institution.Up next, John Rolls presentation “Do not change your behaviour – there is a fault in reality” was bit different to say the least. John basically explained the psychological rational behind getting people to change their behaviour. To summarise, John’s presentation said that environmental campaigns are more successful if you target an emotional response from those whose behaviour you want to change, but it needs to be done carefully.
On the second day of the conference I attended a session on the use of Social Media to promote sustainability, By Mal Chia.Not only was it an excellent lesson in the history of communications and in social media but Mal showed how easy it is now to be connected to 1,000’s of other people through the click of a mouse. He also explained how to best engage with people. Echoing what John Rolls had said in a previous presentation, Mal also said that its important to tell a story that resonates with your audience. Firstly find out who you audience are and what do they want/need. Your story must be relatable, inspirational, and emotional. Mal also said not to broadcast to an audience but instead to start a conversation. All really good advice so took notes that I’m sure I’ll return to often.
Later I attended the “Time and Sustainability metrics for tertiary institutions” presentation given by Stephen Derrick. One of the points I took away from Stephens presentation was that sustainability is urgent so it’s important to factor in the time left until we go past the point of no return.Later that day I hosted a “one to one with the experts” session. This gave delegates the opportunity to sit with an expert of their choice (in my case green ICT) and ask what it all about , how to implement it etc. I had in total 7 delegates pick my brains for explanations on green ICT and how it relates to their role at their institutions. I was little surprised at how some delegates knew so little on the subject (no offence intended) but the UK are streets ahead of Australian institutions in greening their ICT systems. This is an opportunity for UK institutions to blaze the trail in greening of ICT networks and demonstrate best practice for those still grappling with the subject.
Later that night the green gown awards took place. Between the dinner and dancing, U&C’s across Australasia and New Zealand were awarded for their achievements in sustainable related topics. For the categories and winner click on the following link;
For a closer look at the conference’s programme click on the following link;
The final day of the ACTS conference kicked off with presentation from Jimmy Brannigan on the EAUC’s LiFE project. This is a sustainability performance tool that it is hoped will be utilised by all U&C’s not only in the UK but in Australia and NZ too. A continuation from the Universities that Count project, LiFE examines an institutions CSR and well as their environmental performance. For more information simply click on the following link:

Green ICT workshop at the 2011 ACTS Conference in Adelaide, Australia.

It been almost two weeks since I attended the 2011 ACTS conference in Adelaide and I’m only now getting around to blogging about it. At the conference I hosted a green ICT workshop along with Sam Fernandez and Bart Meehan both of ANU. A quick show of hands at the start of the workshop showed that it was being attended by 27 delegates most of which were environmental or sustainable managers (of one type or another). Unfortunately no IT managers were in attendance. However, a few sustainable and environmental managers confirmed that their institutions had a green ICT strategy of sorts in place and were there to learn more on the subject. I presented on the aims of the SUSTE-TECH project and ran through its methodology, results of the 15 participants Suste-IT tools and green ICT action plans. At the end of the session I encouraged delegates to take what I considered to be the 3 most useful points away with them, use the Suste-IT tool, remembering the “4 M’s”, (math, meet, merge, make)  and to go on line and learn more about the 34 other JISC projects that are researching the subject of Green ICT.
Sam Fernandez and Bart Meehan presented on what they had done at ANU to green their IT system. They covered the issue of ICT formerly being regarded as the “sacred cow” of campus operations in that it daren’t be touched by anyone outside of the IT department. Thankfully this has changed since the realisation that ICT is a significant energy consumer. Sam focussed on what he described as the “big ticket item”, Data Centre management. In fact ANU are setting up a separate group specifically to manage their data centres. Bart and Sam covered how they are building the case for change by communicating results with stakeholders and are taking the collaborative approach to tackling the energy use of their data centres by getting involved with other organisations. Their mantra for this collaborative was “I have a problem and I need your help”. This mirrors what 2 other presenters (John Rolls and Mal Chia, see next blog) said was crucial to getting stakeholders involved in sustainable projects.
While neither of the presentations showcased groundbreaking findings in Green ICT (next year perhaps) it was reassuring to see institutions on another continent experiencing and tackling hurdles in energy management the same way as those in the UK. One of the more interesting outcomes of the project was that so many delegates were still unaware of what exactly green ICT is.  So I recommended reading any of the hundreds of Green ICT books that are available, in fact  I’ve mentioned a few in older blogs and tweets. At the ACTS 2012 Conference I hope to present on how far the SUSTE-TECH participants have come since deciding to participate in 2010. I also hope to be able to showcase their financial and carbon savings and focus on which of the sustainable technologies helped get them to a greener level.