Thursday, 31 December 2009

Green outsourcing charter

image Paris-based consulting and systems integration company Business & Decisions has launched what it calls Greenethiquette “a mandate for a clear cloud”. The idea is to encourage IT users to take some eco-responsibility when IT is outsourced.

Basically it’s a charter that commits both sides in an outsourcing/hosting/cloud agreement to a code of conduct. Greenethiquette provides the framework for the arrangement and helps users set it up.

It covers five areas:

• Optimise energy efficiency - The service provider shares PUE (Power Usage Effectiveness) information with its customers and undertake to take improvement measures such as following the EU Code of Conduct for Data Centres or Energy Star rating for data centre infrastructure.

• Server resourcers’ fair consumption – Primarily measured by the level of server activity. The provider of the hosted service provides its customer with detailed activity levels of physical and virtual services related to each hosted application. It enables follow-ups and monitoring of progress over time.

• Recycling policies - The host must provide documentation of data centre policies for recycling IT equipment and consumables (paper, printer cartridges, etc). The host will be required to make all certificates and traceability available.

• Equipment selection - The host participates in a programme such as Climate Savers Computing, which has guidelines over choice of equipment. As and when Energy Star and EPEAT cover servers, then their suggestions will be included.

• Fair resilience principle – This relates to the need to have a realistic level of resilience, rather than over-providing with, for example, continuously running systems that may not be required.

For each of the above areas Greenethiquette provides facts and figures, suggested measures that can be taken and codes of conduct to monitor and benchmark the level of service. Transparency and co-creation are seen as the key.

According to, Intel, Climate Savers Computing, Bouygues Immobilier and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Grenoble have already joined up.

This is an interesting initiative and one to watch. Outsourcing (of any sort) is certainly a huge grey area for the industry in terms of green responsibility. (Although in the UK legislation – in terms of the Carbon Reduction commitment – actually puts virtually all of the responsibility on the service provider). Anything that can help formalise and codify the customer/service provider relationship could be a big help. At the moment most user/supplier discussions seems to be on an individual, ad-hoc contract basis. Providing guidelines for the arrangement would be a real step forward.

And apparently Business & Decisions wants to hand control of Greenethiquette over to some other organisation in the future to ensure its neutrality is assured and it continues to evolve. (Although whether the current name can survive international adoption remains to be seen).

© The Green IT Review

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