Creating a greener footprint

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There’s never been a better time to go green.

Climate change is one issue that will not go away. As our nation comes to grips with the implications of global warming, technology has the potential to be a major part of the solution to our CO2 challenges.

The ICT industry is leading the way in the fight against climate change, by developing energy efficient products and clean technologies, by providing useful metrics and information, and also by enabling population decentralisation and large-scale telecommuting.

While the benefits of technology are far-reaching, we must also look for ways to reduce the amount of energy required to keep our technological devices functioning and our potential impact on the environment through e-waste.

So what is our industry doing to clear the air?

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 have already reduced the company’s water usage by more than 40,000 litres - enough to fill an average private pool.

In another outstanding example of sustainable practices, 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 9 per cent increase on 2005.

And when it comes to e-waste, IBM is not alone. In September, a consortium of ICT companies (Apple, Canon, Dell, Epson, Fujitsu, Fuji-Xerox, HP, IBM, Lenovo, and Lexmark) together with the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) and Sustainability Victoria launched Byteback, which aims to keep unwanted equipment out of landfill and recover materials through environmentally responsible recycling.

Consumers and small businesses can take their unwanted computer equipment to any one of nine sites around Victoria and dispose of it in a responsible way. The service is free to the community, as industry partners cover the cost of transporting and recycling their branded equipment.

As we see increasing social and political pressure on businesses to become more environmentally responsible, it’s important that we support businesses as they develop long-term strategies for a sustainable future.

Sheryle Moon
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Information Industry Association
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