ICT industry and government come together to tackle climate change

Recognizing the high level of carbon dioxide produced by ICT is unsustainable, industry groups and government leaders came together today for a one-day Sustainable Futures Forum in Melbourne.

The forum will examine how technology can support a sustainable future and minimise the environmental footprint of enterprises.

The line-up of attendees includes Telstra's public policy managing director, Phil Burgess, Victorian government cabinet secretary, Tony Lupton, and Australian Information Industry Association CEO, Sheryle Moon.

According to Moon the ICT industry is leading the way in the fight against climate change by developing energy efficient products and clean technologies, and enabling population decentralisation and large scale telecommuting.

Other participants include: Keith Suter, environment committee chairperson at the Australian Institute of Company Directors; Randy Fennel, CIO, EDS ANZ; Malcolm Simister, Former CFO and author; Alison O'Flynn, senior consultant at Fujitsu Consulting and; Angus MacDonald, chief technologist at Sun Australasia.

Hosted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the forum will explore ICT initiatives that are already making a difference, share learnings from successful local and international programs and reveal what the leading ICT developers and manufacturers are doing to support sustainability programs.

According to Gartner, the global ICT industry accounts for more than two per cent of global carbon emissions. Australia's carbon emissions total 522.2 million tonnes per year. Of that, 7.94 million tonnes comes from ICT use by Australian businesses, according to a study released recently by the ACS.

Those emissions come from technology such as PCs, servers, air-conditioning, mobile phones and printers.

A large number of high technology companies have already adopted the mantra 'corporate responsibility starts from home'. For instance, Fuji Xerox relocated its Canberra branch to a new environmentally friendly site in 2006.

The facility was designed with energy and water savings initiatives in mind. During the first year of operation, Fuji Xerox estimates that it prevented around 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere; and water saving measures has already reduced the company's water usage by more than 40,000 litres - enough to fill an average private pool.

In another example of sustainable practice, in 2006 IBM Australia recycled 98 per cent of over 150 metric tonnes of the machines scrapped at end of lease and from its operations in Australia, a nine per cent increase on 2005.

Byteback, a computer take back program spearheaded by the AIIA and Sustainability Victoria in partnership with a consortium of ICT companies (Apple, Canon, Dell, Epson, Fujitsu, Fuji-Xerox, HP, IBM, Lenovo, and Lexmark) aims to keep unwanted equipment out of landfill and recover materials through environmentally responsible recycling.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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