Page 1

International Journal of Computer Science Engineering and Information Technology Research (IJCSEITR) ISSN 2249-6831 Vol.2, Issue 4, Dec 2012 103-111 © TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.,

INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY AS A FACILITATOR FOR GREEN INITIATIVES- A SECTORAL ANALYSIS REKHA MISHRA The Technological Institute of Textile and Sciences (Tit&S), Bhiwani, Haryana, India

ABSTRACT Information technology has been in the fore front of the new world order and in heralding the era of globalisation. Today when world is facing new challenges arising due to depleting resources and environmental pollution, Information Technology has once again stepped in to find new ways to deal with those issues. In this review we attempt to bring forth various models and innovative and successful practices implemented by several individual and organisations using Information Technology for facilitating Green Initiative in diverse sectors. For instance from using building construction simulation software like Google 3 D warehouse to using IT for global supply chain management and E-Trade. It is strongly speculated that “Green” usage of IT itself can help reduce up to 15% carbon emissions by 2020 (globally). Implementation of Green IT helps save resources that cost money; hence it helps save money too. Several IT vendors, from PC providers to software manufacturers are now offering products and services to support environmentally sustainable business operations for companies of all sizes. Information technology goes a long way in facilitating Green Initiatives and if properly managed, can enable organizations to be responsible corporate citizens and also deliver higher profitability and gain a competitive advantage.

KEYWORDS: Green Initiative, Information Technology, Green IT. INTRODUCTION Information technology has been in the fore front of the new world order and in heralding the era of globalization. Today when world is facing new challenges arising due to depleting resources and environmental pollution, information technology has once again stepped in to find new ways to deal with those issues. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can improve environmental performance and address climate change across the economy. The biggest gains for smarter environmental and economic strategies and applications are in power generation and distribution, buildings and transportation – three areas which contribute to the bulk of greenhouse gases. Further environmental benefits of ICT applications are evident in areas such as water management, biodiversity protection, pollution reduction.

WHAT IS AND WHY GREEN INITIATIVES? We are constantly confronted with environmental changes across the world ranging from extreme weather to a scarcity of water for nearly 2 billion people, nearly 40% of the world's population. Such phenomena and reality has created a movement across the globe to identify the causes of global warming and develop solutions to end it before it is too late. In a

effort to address the growing evidence of climate change, many nations are passing laws and regulations aimed

specifically at reducing carbon emissions and greenhouse gas from the atmosphere.[9]


104

Rekha Mishra

The focus on sustainability has resulted in a growing need for integrating environmentally sound choices or “Green initiatives” into research and practices at individual and organisational level in diverse sectors.

HOW INFORMATION TECHONOLGY CAN FACILITATE GREEN INTIATIVES? An OECD Perspective “Smart” ICTs can play a key role in addressing the green growth challenge in energy, transport and water management. On 29/09/2010, the OECD 1held a technology foresight forum in Paris to discuss environmental opportunities, existing barriers and some potential risks to the wider roll-out of smart infrastructures. [5] OECD recommends use of ICTs to tackle climate change and environmental challenges. OECD governments agree to improve the use of information and communication technologies to tackle environmental challenges and accelerate green growth. The OECD Council Recommendation gives a ten-point checklist for government policy, including provisions on improving environmental impacts of ICTs.[5] Use of Sensor networks plays an important role in tackling environmental challenges. Sensor applications in smart power grids, smart buildings and smart industrial processes make significant contributions to more efficient resource use and reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants. The OECD's Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry (DSTI) held a “virtual” side-event on the role of ICTs for climate change during the UN Climate Change talks in Copenhagen, December 2009. Speakers from government and academia faced each other around a “virtual” table in high definition. Innovation in ICTs is key to achieving ambitious CO2 emissions reductions. In a recent report, the World Economic Forum also confirmed that the convergence of global networking and computing can significantly reduce global carbon emissions. The report also noted that ICT solutions have the potential to be a significant player in the reduction of CO2 emitted by non-ICT industries and the public.[5]

GREEN INITIATIVES EDUCATION: The University of Texas at Austin "Green information technology is key to ensuring that The University of Texas at Austin achieves the goal of advancing environmental stewardship and sustainability here at our university,” says Brian Roberts, CIO and Vice President for Information Technology.[3] Here’s a quick look at a number of green services and options offered by ITS that can help save power and paper, and reduce your carbon footprint across campus Reducing and Recycling Making use of Blackboard, WebSpace, and SharePoint to share and collaborate on electronic documents. These tools can be used in the following ways: 1.

Blackboard allows faculty members to share electronic syllabi, class presentations and class readings with students. Students can submit their class assignments electronically. No usage paper or ink at all.[3]

*Address: 204, Buildcon Appt, 70, Ber Sarai, New Delhi- 110016


Information Technology as a Facilitator for Green Initiatives- A Sectoral Analysis

2.

105

WebSpace allows anyone in the university community and beyond to collaborate on electronic documents, in addition to storing files.

3.

SharePoint is another tool that allows one to share and collaborate online on campus and have found SharePoint a useful tool in keeping projects on track and team members informed.

Green Printing is a sustainable alternative for offices and departments that print reports from the mainframe. This can radically reduce paper consumption by printing reports to files instead of using reams of paper. Energy consumption and time are also saved by electronic delivery. ITS offers a Hard Drive Destruction service for recycling e-waste. Through a contract with an Austin-based company, ITS destroys media with sensitive data, and ensures that the byproducts are completely recycled thanks to the vendor’s “zero waste” policy. “Zero waste” means all media – even hazardous waste – is recycled according to EPA guidelines.[3] Reducing the Effects of Travel ITS offers several options that may help you travel less and reduce your carbon footprint. 1.

Virtual Private Network (VPN) can be used to connect to the campus network when working from home.

2.

A teleconference or videoconference can be set up when required to meet with colleagues at college or across the country, or around the world.

Saving Power and Space Virtual machines save on power and space by consolidating physical machines. ITS uses hardware that can create up to 64 virtual machines on a single “real” physical machine. The energy and space-saving potential are good for both the environment and the bottom line. Here are some facts that put the benefits of going virtual into perspective are highlighted below: An average physical server uses about 750 watts at peak power. That equates to 6,570 kilowatts of power, or about $657 per year for the power. This implies that 64 servers consolidated into virtual machines could save as much as $41,000 in power in one year.

E- TRADE Information technology (IT) and information technology enabled services (ITES) have played a key role in the trade process reforms. For example, inter-agency coordination for facilitating e-filing and e-payment as per the international standards and if required, to undertake process re-engineering for obtaining inter-agency message formats in a compatible manner.[7] The objective is to provide an electronic interface between various trade regulatory and facilitating agencies and the trading community so as to facilitate delivery of better services. But at the same time these developments have gone a long way in implementation of green initiatives. The regulatory and facilitating agencies in this include several actors (as mentioned in Fig. 1) like customs, DGFT, RBI and export promotion organizations (EPOs) There are transport-related agencies involved like Indian Railways, various airlines, Airport Authority of India (AAI), Indian Port Authority (IPA), CONCOR and Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S). [1]


106

Rekha Mishra

Figure 1: Various Stakeholders in the E Trade Project Source: Impact of IT related Trade Facilitation Measures on SMEs: An Overview of Indian Experience A converged network reduces energy and air pollutants associated with traditional brick and mortar shopping and thus can facilitate environmentally friendly e-commerce. It also reduces retail and warehouse space requirements, which in turn reduce energy required to build, heat, and cool retail showrooms and office space.[1] Web-based applications have long supported online, paper-free billing, and more and more businesses and consumers are taking advantage. Changes that can have a large and positive environmental impact can be easily implemented with this. To eliminate associated environmental costs of paper bill transportation between provider and purchaser Electronic bill presentment and payment is used. EDI (electronic data interchange) and Direct Data offer other options for billing delivery. These electronic file delivery systems transport large volumes of billing data virtually to better automate monthly invoice processing and provide a paperless solution. [1] The process is taken one step further by providing a seamless system-to-system interface between client and provider by eBonding. eBonding allows customers to leverage their existing operational support systems to communicate


Information Technology as a Facilitator for Green InitiativesInitiatives A Sectoral Analysis

107

directly with a provider’s systems as part of an end-to-end end automated business process ocess and thus is designed for enterprises with a high volume of transactions. [1]

BUILDING CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY Discussion about the building industry today cannot be accomplished without the topic turning towards "going green." New green building uilding products and techniques are being developed and utilized every day.[6]

Figure 2: Google 3 D Warehouse Source: http://sketchup.google.com/green/resources.html Google has made several tools and technologies to enable green building construction for example Google 3 D warehouse.[4] Greatest impact on green initiatives in the software market has been from Building Information Modelling (BIM) technologies. It is possible for 3D digital models to carry and exchange intelligent information that iis maintained throughout the lifecycle of a building project using BIM. It lends itself nicely towards green initiatives because these intelligent building models can also carry information relating to thermal data, surface area, and geographical position aand orientation. Many organizations are adopting Green BIM technology for education and advancement within the building industry. Earth Advantage Institute is one such organization, which uses a variety of BIM platforms to show builders the value of buildingg green, and to illustrate sustainable building practices. Using an Energy Performance Score (EPS), Earth Advantage Institute rates a home’s energy consumption and emissions. EPS can speed the adoption of residential energy efficiency as it is the core of an economic "ecosystem". The BIM technology helps to illustrate green building practices and design and thus drive home their message in a more visual and enlightening way.[8]

GREEN SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT (GSCM) Patrick Penfield of the Whiteman School of Management defines Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) as "the process of using environmentally friendly inputs and transforming these inputs into outputs that can be reclaimed and re-used used at the end of their lifecycle thus, creating a sustainable supply chain.”[2]


108

Rekha Mishra

Figure 3: IT as an Enabler for GSCM Source: Cognizant’s White paper on “Creating a green supply chain” With Increasing customer awareness and regulatory norms, organizations with greener supply chain management practices will ll have a competitive advantage over companies that are reluctant to embrace GSCM. Hence across industry there is shift in the focus of GSCM programs from compliance to creating value for customers and shareholders.[2] Examples include: Dell saves over $20mn mn annually as a result of supply 12 chain and packaging improvements. In fact, this market leader achieved its goal of becoming carbon 4 neutral by 2008. Texas Instruments saves $8mn each year by reducing its transit packaging budget for its semiconductor business through source reduction, recycling, and use of reusable packaging systems 4 (20% annual savings) .[10] Pepsi-Cola Cola saved $44mn by switching from corrugated to reusable plastic shipping containers for one litre and 20 20ounce bottles, conserving 4 196mn 96mn pounds of corrugated material.[9]

GREEN IT Green IT is the study and practice of using computing resources efficiently. The goal of Green IT is to do more with less, with minimum utilization of resources. It is said that “Green” usage of IT itself can help reduce up to 15% carbon emissions by 2020 (globally). Automatically, since implementation of Green IT helps save resources that cost money, it helps save money too.[6] The larger the size of the organization, the larger the potential savings through implementation of Green IT. Green IT can be split into four categories: 1. Responsible manufacturing


Information Technology as a Facilitator for Green InitiativesInitiatives A Sectoral Analysis

109

2. Power management 3. Consumables 4. Recycling and disposal Green information technology is frequently used to describe environmentally sound computing pr practices. This includes everything from energy-efficient efficient data centres to recycling old or unusable electronics. Making data centres more environmentally friendly has been of considerable importance, as federal data centres account for 1.5 percent of total energy nergy consumption in the United States.[6]

Figure 4: Google Datacenter Source: www.googlegreen.com Data centers present an opportunity to make an impact on resource conservation, immediately. Users can save real estate and equipment energy use, HVAC, CO2 emissions, and travel costs for personnel and management, through consolidation of servers at data centers. Innovative data centers use techniques, including the simple act of turning off unused servers, to lessen the impact of their energy use. The power that isn’t used is the easiest power to save. Sophisticated operating processes enable, servers and disk drives to be powered down when not needed, and then brought back online whenever demands require it. During low points in activity, organizations can run their servers at reduced speed, which lessens their energy consumption. In addition, an enterprise should consider deploying servers with the best power supply efficiency available with the selected configuration. By rigorous maintenance to keep equipment equipment operating efficiently, as well as modifying layout and configuration of equipment to reduce cooling requirements, data center managers can improve the efficiency of their facilities. These and many more steps will increase overall data center efficiency efficien and help lower the carbon footprint. Address the need for energy efficiency by using cloud computing as it allows for the running of, what were previously, desktop applications on remote and consolidated server farms and results in many sustainability bbenefits. For example, all interested parties over the internet can do project analysis, in real time, at their own organization.[6] Within the next 5 years, any organization that is unable to demonstrate a commitment towards protecting the environment will lose credibility and will soon get overtaken by its peers. The BCS Foundation certificate in Green IT and


110

Rekha Mishra

also the ISO14001 Environmental Management System (EMS) provide some effective frameworks for demonstrating commitment to Green.[10]

Figure 5: Benefit of Green IT Source: www.symentech.com Specific benefits of implementing Green IT are: 1. Reduce capex and operational costs 2. Help protect the environment for future generations through: - Reduction in use of hazardous materials, including emissions and a heat generation - Maximization of energy efficiency during the product's lifetime - promoting recyclability or biodegradability of defunct products and factory waste 3. Improves corporate image - be seen as environmentally responsible 4. Enhances stakeholder older value and satisfaction - create a differentiator with respect to competitors 5. Employee morale, satisfaction and retention Several organisations have committed themselves to take forward green initiatives for instance from Dell committing itself to carbon neutrality to IBM Corp’s new eco consulting services, major companies and firms have made a dedicated shift to greening their operation in recent years. [10]

CONCLUSIONS Green initiatives implementation account for the triple bottom lines - an expanded ded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring contribution to People (organizational and societal contribution), Planet (contribution to the environment) and Profit (contribution to financial success). Information technology goes a long way in facilitating facilitating Green initiatives and if properly managed, can enable organisations to cut down costs, reclaim unused capacity, streamline operations, manage outcomes, deliver higher profitability, become responsible corporate citizens and gain a competitive advantage. advantag

REFERENCES Papers and White papers 1.

Chaturvedi S., Impact of IT related Trade Facilitation Measures on SMEs: An Overview of Indian Experience


Information Technology as a Facilitator for Green Initiatives- A Sectoral Analysis

2.

Creating a Green Supply Chain, (2011), Cognizant.

Websites: 3.

Utexas.edu

4.

Green3dhome.com

5.

OEDC.org

6.

Googlegreen.com

7.

Doe.gov

8.

Bet.rmi.org

9.

Environmentalleader.com

10. Continuityandresilience.com

111

10. Computer Science  
Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you