There seems to be a concentrated focus on Green IT in Australia at the moment, perhaps as a response to the failure to implement a national cap-and-trade scheme (a contributing factor to the change of Prime Minister last week).
There have been two reports published by different industry bodies in recent months:
• Carbon and Computers in Australia, a report for the Australian Computer Society (ACS) by Connection Research, is a detailed analysis of the energy consumption and carbon footprint
of ICT usage in Australia plus an examination of how ICT can act as a low-carbon enabler.
The report includes a number of specific recommendations as to where the initial focus should be, which are; data centre efficiency, reducing printer usage, turning computers off, thinking green, i.e. adopting a general energy-saving attitude to ICT, and using ICT to reduce carbon emissions in other areas.
• Greening your Business with Technology from the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is more about what companies can do to reduce emissions. It’s designed to give decision makers the information to make informed choices around green IT and includes lots of case studies. It’s divided into five sections to lead readers along the path from initial actions and quick wins through to long term strategies, such as addressing supply chain issues and adopting technologies such as cloud computing.
At the same time, rival programmes of green IT certification have emerged:
• The AIIA and GreenBizCheck have partnered to produce a GreenIT Certification programme called GreenITCheck. The assessment covers four areas; data centres and storage, networks, waste reduction and recycling, and printers and workstations. After a 30 minute assessment companies are provided with an in-depth report containing practical measures to reach Bronze, Silver or Gold certification.
• ComputersOff.ORG (which was behind the recent International Green IT Awareness Week) and Connection Research have announced that they will be cooperating on Green IT accreditation. It will include ComputersOff.ORG’s current end user accreditation programme expanded to include enterprise and data centre issues as well as IT enablement. Further expansion into other areas covered by Connection Research’s Green IT Framework are planned, such as lifecycle/procurement and Green IT metrics.
It’s all good stuff and shows that green IT is climbing the business agenda in Australia, although it would be better if there was a concerted joint effort between the ACS and the AIIA.
As far as the change in leader is concerned, new Prime Minister Julia Gillard has already said that she believes that Australia needs a price on carbon emissions and has started to revive the carbon trading scheme with a promise to consult with industry and voters over the issue. There’s a long way to go, with elections due before next April, but the debate is firmly on the agenda again, which can only boost the visibility of green IT.