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AIIA Challenges the ICT Industry to Reduce Australia's Carbon Footprint

Speakers at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Sustainable Futures Forum threw down the gauntlet and challenged Australia’s IT industry to help reduce Australia’s carbon footprint. In a summary of the day’s discussion at the AIIA Sustainable Futures Forum (SFF) on October 7, speakers highlighted five ways the Australian IT industry can leverage its products and services to reduce its carbon footprint and inspire other industries to do the same.
  • 08 October, 2008 13:16

<p>Canberra, AUSTRALIA – 8 October 2008 - Speakers at the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) Sustainable Futures Forum threw down the gauntlet and challenged Australia’s IT industry to help reduce Australia’s carbon footprint. In a summary of the day’s discussion at the AIIA Sustainable Futures Forum (SFF) on October 7, speakers highlighted five ways the Australian IT industry can leverage its products and services to reduce its carbon footprint and inspire other industries to do the same.</p>
<p>Opening the SFF, Ian Birks, CEO of the AIIA said, “Developing and promoting the environmental values of our industry is one of AIIA’s top strategic priorities. The Australian ICT industry is very conscious of reducing the carbon footprint of its infrastructure and products as they form the foundation of modern business. Information technologies are set to play an absolutely critical role in driving sustainable transformation across other industries.”</p>
<p>Demonstrating Leadership</p>
<p>Many speakers emphasised that the journey towards environmental sustainability starts with a commitment towards the environment. This requires a change in the way the environment is accounted for within an organisation’s sourcing and procurement policies. By adopting a vision or philosophy of environmental sustainability, we are moving towards “dematerialisation” or the reduction of an organisation’s output of waste and use of natural resources in products' lifecycles.</p>
<p>Bob Hayward, Director of Risk Advisory Services at KPMG highlighted that companies are being increasing faced with external pressures to demonstrate their leadership in environmental sustainability. This includes managing stakeholders’ expectations, attracting employees, avoiding the increasing risk of regulation, managing risks and developing operational efficiencies. These key areas need to addressed if companies want to take a leadership position in organisational sustainability.</p>
<p>Greater Efficiency</p>
<p>Businesses need to critically look at ways to develop greater efficiencies across their business. Environmental sustainability is a continuous process aimed at achieving set targets. A good example of how business can improve their sustainability is the development of strategies to reduce energy consumption in their premises as the cost of electricity is the single largest line item in an IT budget and electricity costs are expected to rise significantly with the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme.</p>
<p>Anita Roper, CEO of Sustainability Victoria emphasised the need for companies to establish baselines for environmental data through the implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) so they could move towards a standard or targets set for continuous improvement.</p>
<p>Extended Producer Responsibility</p>
<p>Companies are increasingly being called to meet sustainable procurement guidelines and this requires them to develop products that use less virgin materials, have a greater component of recycled materials, consume less energy and can be recycled at the end of its life. By taking a product’s lifecycle into consideration, companies are constantly being challenged to design better products by consumers and businesses.</p>
<p>Hugh Wareham, CEO of Eco-Buy stated that the cost of carbon intensive goods is expected to increase with the introduction of the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. The cost of raw materials from energy intensive resources such as steel is expected to increase and this will impact on manufacturing companies.</p>
<p>Behavioural Changes</p>
<p>Businesses need to educate stakeholders to undertake behavioural changes if they want to reduce their overall carbon footprint. This includes instituting educational and awareness programs to help employees, suppliers and partners understand their individual roles and responsibilities in reducing their impact on the environment.</p>
<p>Monitoring</p>
<p>Businesses should leverage proper monitoring and forecasting solutions to produce data that is defensible in the public domain. Such data can be validated externally and used for publication in sustainability reports that are increasingly being sought by investors to determine the investment risk profiles of companies. Sonya Stephens, Head of Public Sector, Victoria, at SAS stated that the downturn in the global economy will increase the pressure on companies to focus on data that is verifiable and valid. She also added that having the right solutions in place will ensure companies are ready to take advantage of opportunities.</p>
<p>The SFF was attended by over 400 delegates ranging from key decision makers including CEOs, CFOs, CIOs and government representatives from around Australia. Speakers represented at the event include KPMG, PwC, Sustainability Victoria, Fosters Group and ANZ amongst others</p>
<p>The next SFF will be held in Sydney in March 2009.</p>
<p>- ENDS -</p>
<p>For further information or presentation materials from the event, please contact:</p>
<p>Gabriel Wong</p>
<p>Max Australia</p>
<p>Tel: 9954 3492</p>
<p>Email: gabriel.wong@maxaustralia.com.au</p>
<p>AIIA – Leading the ICT Business Community</p>
<p>The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) sets the strategic direction of the ICT industry, influences public policy, engages industry stakeholders and provides member companies with business productivity tools, advisory services and market intelligence to accelerate their business growth. www.aiia.com.au</p>

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