IT ill prepared for forthcoming carbon rules

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Experts have warned IT managers need to prepare for the introduction of a forthcoming carbon cap and trade scheme before it is too late.

The cap and trade scheme is part of the Carbon Reduction Commitment as detailed in the government's 2007 Energy White Paper. Under those proposals, the government plans to reduce UK CO2 emissions by 1.2m tonnes by 2020.

In order to achieve that, the government is targeting organisation which expend more than 5,000 KW of electricity a year – roughly 10 per cent of UK enterprises.

Those organisations are expected to have carbon reporting processes in place by 2010 – much of the responsibility for that will fall on IT.

And Richard Kellett, head of solutions and technology marketing at business intelligence firm SAS, said organisations need to start applying the technology needed for the scheme now in order to be properly prepared.

It is tempting to aim to meet the basic requirements of legislation, he explained, but this can mean business leaders become blind to opportunities to improve business processes. "This type of approach is extremely short sighted, and puts you in a constant game of catch up."

Business leaders may come unstuck unless IT is proactive in preparing for the introduction of carbon reporting, warned Jes Seymour at consultancy company IT Insight. “IT departments have a tendency to trip over when they do things in a rush,” he said.

The biggest risk was that IT would underestimate the scale of process changes that carbon reporting could introduce he said. “Although it may seem a simple requirement, the devil is in the detail. The scheme may mean changes to older systems and significant overhauls.”

Under the government proposals, organisations will be given a three-year period of grace in order to establish adequate carbon reporting processes. Businesses that fail to comply by April 2013 face being fined.

Last week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) wrote to 10,000 organisations, all of which may be included in the scheme, to ask them to register.
itweek.co.uk @ 2010 Incisive Media
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