Channel Maven Consulting


Happy Earth Day! Lets see who’s truly green

by Channel Maven on April 19, 2012

It’s that time of year again! No not tax season. It’s time to get outside (okay you can bring your iPad) and celebrate Earth Day! Every April we see a little logo flash in the bottom of TV channels and websites about how such-and-such company is ‘being green’ and how you should be too. Unfortunately, for the vendors and channel partners who are actually doing a good job with their environmental sustainability record, this is a time when all your hard work can be ignored thanks to the onslaught of greenwashing.

At Channel Maven Consulting we fancy ourselves green. We have recycling and composting in our office building, turn off all of our power strips at night, and many of our team members bike or walk to the office on a regular basis. With our office, though, there is only so much we can do. To help cut through this year’s Earth Day greenwashing, we’d like to discuss two real sustainability movements in the channel: moving to the (green) cloud and supply-side sustainability.

Green Cloud

The cloud is booming in 2012 and many think it is a greener option for companies, so what does the green cloud offer? First, the cloud allows for lower on-site power consumption and less material hardware and packaging. While the onsite data center/server environment does exist somewhere, the added burden of having a highly available power supplies, with backup diesel generators, at every location requires a lot of energy to both produce these items as well as power and maintain them. In addition, all of the hardware (servers, storage devises, networking equipment, etc) requires packaging and shipping to get to the individual locations. Second, the support services for the cloud environment are all in one location. With growing markets in China and India, many companies deploy their own IT teams to on site server implementation, which means a lot of travel (and wasted fuel). Finally, it’s important to know the energy management and sustainability policy of your cloud provider. Many cloud providers are using innovative cooling and energy management practices, which not only keep your data secure but also reduce overall energy consumption for a green and safe cloud solution.

EMC Corp is a prime example of jumping onto the green cloud. After realizing how much energy their five data centers were using, EMC began the move to virtualized IT infrastructure in 2004 and will complete the move this year. EMC’s cloud move reduced energy consumption by 34%. EMC isn’t stopping with the cloud, they offer flexible working, to reduce community costs, and are designing new buildings with energy efficiency in mind.

Supply Chain Sustainability

In the globalized channel, more and more focus is placed on supply-side sustainability. One way to integrate sustainability into your supply chain is to know what elements you should be on the lookout for in your manufacturing facilities. Keep note of rare elements like Neodyminum, primarily mined in China, which is used in laser, microphones, headphones, and hard disks. Industry initiatives from the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) have focused on responsible sourcing to promote a more sustainable supply chain. At Channel Maven Consulting, we are happy to see so many of the vendors we work with have joined EICC and are committed to improve the social and environmental sustainability of the global electronics supply chain.

CA Technology has jumped to a leadership position in IT sustainability, focusing not only on greening in house, but forcing sustainability up their supply chain. In house CA provides flexible work for employees, which saves on commuting costs, builds green with LEED certified buildings, and for Earth Day 2012 we stumbled across CA employees taking time out of their day to volunteer with Coonemara Meadow Land Preserve in Texas. On the supply-side, CA promotes its sustainability mission upstream, by demanding that its suppliers maintain sustainability standards with a monthly screening.

Hewlett-Packard is another great example of expanding an environmental policy beyond its own brick and mortar (although its brick and mortar are often LEED certified). HP extends its strict environmental, health, and safety management system to every company it acquires. HP makes a practice of setting annual environmental goals AND achieving them! This is a best practice we hope to see implemented in every IT company.

Of course, no blog post on green IT can be complete without mentioning the frontrunner IBM. With an environmental policy that spans over 40 years, IBM has an institutional memory that is deeply embedded in environmental sustainability. IBM’s practice of implementing proactive environmental policy BEFORE regulation and still pull a profit is a testament to companies being able to do well by doing good. Keep up the great work IBM!

We are happy to see so many industry leaders stepping up their green initiatives and can’t wait to see even more improvements by Earth Day 2013!

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