CU Moves to Spearhead ‘GREEN IT’
A seminar on green technology which focused on the theme, ‘A Cross-cultural Survey of the Impact of Organizational Culture on the Adoption of Green IT,’ was held at the Centre for Learning Resources of Covenant University on Friday, November 7, 2014.
The seminar was anchored by the Computer Science Department of CU, and delivered by one of the visiting team members from Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, Mr. William Campbell.
While delivering the seminar, Mr. Campbell defined Green IT as, avoiding waste of energy, avoiding pollution (e.g. through disposal of PCs), and Information Systems which support sustainability (e.g. Intelligent Buildings).
He described the ‘Green Agenda’ with a quote from Brundtland Commission, 1987, “Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.”
Mr. Campbell in his lecture, tried to answer the common question, “Which industry produces more CO2 pollution, aviation or IT? And what proportion of CO2 emissions is produced by these industries?” He went on to explain that both aviation and IT produce around 2% of total CO2 emissions.
Mr. Campbell said the key issues of the Green Technology are greenhouse gases, climate change, natural resources used at an unsustainable rate, pollution and careless waste disposal.
He said that there are legal and political frameworks established to enable the drive for Green Technology, and they include the Kyoto Protocol (2003) which requires signatories to commit to reducing greenhouse gases, the UK Climate Change Act (2008), which requires companies to continually reduce their carbon footprint, and the USA’s Sarbanes Oxley Act (2002), which requires environmental reporting by companies.
There is also the ‘Emissions Trading’ act, whereby Governments allocate companies a maximum amount of greenhouse gases they are allowed to emit; the allocations may also be traded. The European Union Emission Trading Scheme is the largest. However, Emissions trading is highly complex, he said, and its validity has been widely challenged.
Speaking on the role of Companies, he said, “Sustainability must be delivered by companies, but traditionally, companies seek to maximize profits, return to shareholders, and market share. They regard their stakeholders as shareholders, customers and employees.”
However, he said that the triple bottom line is that, companies must widen their concept of ‘stakeholder’ as they need to consider the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) of People, Profit and Planet; closely linked to concept of ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ (CSR).
Mr. Campbell also spoke on ‘Resource Based View (RBV)’ which is a key concept in modern company theory stipulating that a company’s competitive advantage resides in its ownership of a set of resources that are not easily duplicated. These resources, he said, can be physical, organizational or social, including tacit skills, developed through long practice, and social skills developed through complex group interactions.
He also spoke about the ‘Natural Resource Based View (NRBV)’ which extends the RBV to include resources and capabilities related to sustainability. He stated that environmental concerns will be a key driver of industry in coming decades, while possession of environmental resources and capabilities will confer competitive advantage, lead to more efficient production techniques and enhance the reputation of companies.
He emphasized the need for Greener IT, because IT is responsible for around 2% of C02 emissions, comparable to aviation industry. Also, computers are often left switched on all the time, replaced unnecessarily, and the fact that computing equipment contains chemicals which pose major threat to health, saying that 80% of electronic wastes are sent to developing world for recycling.