Green IT and more (Part IV) – Changing Staff Attitudes and Taking Action

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The time has come to get your hands dirty (well, green) and take action. This part is packed with ideas and inspiration for steps that you and your organisation can take towards a more sustainable future.

Previous articles in the series:
Green IT And More (Part I) – Gearing Up To Go Green
Green IT And More (Part II) – Cleaning Up IT
Green IT And More (Part III) – Greening Your Organisation

Implementing Practical Steps

When Freeform Dynamics asked almost 1,500 IT professionals to compare their own attitudes to the environment with their companies’, the results showed that staff tended to be ahead of their employer in their concerns. Over 50 percent of respondents thought that it could do more for the environment. Any company deciding to take green steps, even if for commercial reasons, will find themselves pushing against a largely open door when it comes to securing support from staff.

The easiest place for organisations to start is where no measurement or groundwork is required, but simply a change in behaviour. The following lists of tips and suggested actions are roughly in order of cost and effort.

The environmental impact will vary according to the nature of your organisation. A focus on print reduction won’t amount to much for an online software publisher, for example, which prints hardly anything. So feel free to pick and choose according to your own circumstances.

Your starter for ten

  • Commit to sustainability from the very top of the organisation
  • Make use of the many sources of publicly available environmental information
  • Include lifecycle questions in requests for proposals (RFPs) and when buying informally
  • Specify equipment appropriate to its planned use
  • Request energy efficient machines and power supplies
  • Extend the working life of equipment if it’s still functional and trouble-free
  • Reuse redundant equipment elsewhere – including mobile phones and chargers
  • Recycle IT hardware, but only if you can’t extend or reuse
  • Raise the temperature of (parts of) the data centre
  • Drop PCs and screens into sleep or standby after 15 minutes of inactivity
  • Switch off screen savers
  • Turn off inactive equipment (such as PCs, printers and network devices) at night
  • Switch off the power to PDA, phone and laptop chargers when not in use
  • Get out of the habit of using paper – go electronic as much as possible
  • Reduce the number of printers
  • Print on both sides by default
  • Encourage staff to participate in web-meetings and webinars to reduce travel when appropriate