KYOCERA Document Solutions (UK) on Green ICT

Does your business practice 'green computing'?


KDUK is in the IT hardware and services sector.

KDUK’s ICT strategy is informed by the company philosophy and its policies are integrated into KDUK’s ISO 14001 compliant Environmental Management System. Its procurement policy states that: “The Technology & Infrastructure Manager is responsible for purchasing all IT related equipment and other electrical equipment on the understanding that all such equipment should carry the highest possible energy efficiency ratings whist ensuring cost effectiveness.” And “Preferred suppliers are those certified to ISO-1400, ISO-9000 or EMAS, or those with environmental certificates for the products being purchased – e.g., Blue Angel, Nordic Swan.”

However, environmentally-sound ICT management does not just rely on procuring energy efficient devices, it also considers whether hardware acquisition is the best way to support the business processes and looks for ways to deliver the required functionality with a smaller amount of hardware. It also requires hardware assets to be retained for the optimum time, so that the maximum functional benefit is derived from the embodied energy consumed in its manufacture and the materials that it contains.

Some examples of how this is applied in practice:

  • When moving to new UK headquarters, all-in-one PCs were specified which don’t have a separate CPU and have integrated VOIP and video capability. This reduces the amount of material required for their manufacture, and consequently the amount of waste generated by their disposal at end of life. The chosen devices are Energy Star and EPEAT Gold compliant. Before the move, existing hardware was retained for an extended to ensure that we did not buy new equipment that would shortly be rendered obsolete by the upgrade.
  • Unified communications software has been implemented whereby any member of staff can conduct teleconferences or videoconference from any desktop PC or from their mobile phone. Desktop sharing is also supported, so it’s as easy as possible to have a virtual meeting, thereby encouraging staff to avoid travelling for meetings unnecessarily.
  • Videoconferencing equipment is also provided in meeting rooms, and used extensively for meetings with other group companies in Europe and Japan.
  • Instead of desktop printers, a small number of multifunctional copiers are provided. A “pull printing” solution has been implemented which requires a proximity card to be swiped to release printed documents, thereby avoiding the potential for printouts to be left uncollected on the printer and reducing both energy and paper consumption as well as consumables waste. The same proximity card is used for building access.
  • By providing secure, remote access to the company network from any internet-connected PC, KDUK supports an “office anywhere” culture which reduces the need to visit the office in order to access necessary data, thereby reducing travel impacts.
  • Virtualised servers have been implemented to reduce the amount of hardware required; virtualisation increases the efficient use of the server’s processing capacity, which results in better energy efficiency.

Redundant ICT equipment is disposed of according to the waste hierarchy, with priority given to re-use. Some is donated to local charities, some is sold to staff or to members of the public via eBay; during the move to the new HQ Freegle was used extensively. Any remaining equipment is disposed of using an Environment-Agency approved asset management company that delivers a social benefit.

In terms of the printing and copying equipment supplied to its customers, KDUK goes beyond the legal requirements imposed by the WEEE directive. The UK WEEE compliance infrastructure is not geared up to prioritise whole device re-use or parts re-use therefore, although KDUK is required to belong to a government-approved scheme, it does not recommend that its customers use it. Instead it recommends customers partner with an ICT Asset Management company which will ensure more of the unwanted equipment is re-used. It also offers a free collection and recycling service for spent consumables.

KDUK was also among the first in its industry to introduce a cloud printing service for its customers, enabling them to reduce their energy consumption and improve their resource efficiency. It also provides an open platform for the development of applications that can streamline business processes and enrich the functionality of its multifunctional copiers, reducing the need for customers to acquire task-specific hardware. Its Document Management Services assist customers to reduce both the number of printing and copying devices in their organisation and their reliance on paper documents, through the application of document management software and other technology solutions. Businesses cases are based on the reduction of energy and paper consumption as well as cost, and software which calculates the achievement against these targets is built into the solutions.

As a member of TechUK – the UK ICT industry trade association – KDUK is active in the climate change and waste workstreams, helping to shape best practice for the industry and participating in stakeholder consultations, for example on government Greening ICT agenda.

Answered at 11:39AM on 17 Thursday Dec 2015

Rapid advances in information and communication technologies (ICT) have revolutionised business and transformed societies. ICT can boost prosperity, lead to business innovation and help to mitigate environmental damage caused by commercial activities. The 2013 Network Readiness Index, suggested ICT could help lift over half a billion people out of poverty in the next decade. However, the lifecycle of an ICT from its manufacture to operation and final disposal has a potential for negative and positive environmental impact, often correlated to energy costs.

Green ICT policies are applicable and relevant to any organisation and a key part of any sustainability journey. ICT’s main direct impact for end users is energy consumption, making Green ICT a key player in reducing business energy costs and becoming more sustainable. Wider direct impacts such as e-waste and end of life considerations make green ICT a vital part of any organisations sustainability aims. ICT’s indirect impacts can reduce emissions in organisational activities such as substituting travelling by air with tele conferencing software.

ICT Lifecycle Diagram

All aspects of an ICT’s lifecycle (Figure 1) should be considered. Users of ICT only typically interact with the ‘In-Use’ lifecycle stage making other stage impacts seemingly invisible; such as exporting old ICT equipment to dump sites in developing nations in the ‘End of Life’ stage, or the heat and wasted electricity from ICT equipment.

Therefore, to be a truly ‘Green’ ICT, its total lifecycle environmental impact should be ‘net positive’. That is simply, the sum of an ICT’s positive impacts outweighing the sum of its negative impacts across the entire lifecycle of the ICT. In practice, this calculation is difficult to precisely calculate at each stage of an ICT’s lifecycle. Furthermore, there are many direct and indirect impacts to be taken into account. The main direct impacts are often energy consumption and the use and disposal of toxic elements – this is always negative and the aim here is to minimise impact through efficiency measures. The use and systemic impacts of ICT can be positive and outweigh the negative impacts. Software is at the heart of these indirect impacts as it can be used to abate emissions from physical processes. For example, using tele conferencing instead of traveling by car or air. Cloud computing can be used to host entire organisations on-site server farms using virtualisation techniques to reduce physical servers being used.

To combat the complexity of lifecycle impact calculations, manufacturers and environmental certification groups provide an array of impact information on the main stages of an ICT’s lifecycle (For example, Energy Star and EPEAT). Specialist organisations also offer ICT measurement and management services, tool sets and calculation methodologies to define, calculate and manage ICT impact which can be potentially variable.

For a detailed overview of the different impacts of ICT see Qingtech’s web page guide specially authored to complement this question.

Green ICT

'Green ICT' is defined as the use of ICT equipment that is sustainably produced, lasts longer, wastes less energy, is used in an efficient way and is disposed of responsibly. It also refers to the use of ICT to lessen other aspects of our environmental impact, such as by reducing the need for transport.

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)

'Information and Communication Technologies' (ICT) include PCs and peripherals, IT services and telecommunication networks and devices. PCs and peripherals include workstations, laptops, desktops, monitors, and printers. IT services include cloud computing, data centres services and component servers.

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

State their business sector

Detail their practices and policies relating to the use of ‘green’ ICT

Explain how ‘green’ ICT policies are communicated and implemented across the organisation

Detail their practices and policies relating to the procurement of ‘green’ ICT hardware, software and services

Explain policies relating to disposal of ICT equipment

Describe any future intentions regarding this issue

All Businesses MAY

State any philosophy or values which influence their approach to ‘green’ ICT

Explain how the environmental impact of its ICT is assessed and what methodologies are used

Describe how they use ICT to lessen other areas of environmental impact

Provide a hyperlink to their green ICT policy

Describe any future plans to implement ‘green’ ICT hardware, software and services

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

State their business sector, explain why they do not or cannot answer YES to this question and list the business reasons, any mitigating circumstances or any other reasons that apply

All Businesses MAY

State any philosophy or key values which govern or influence their approach to green ICT

Describe any efforts to promote issue that do exist, even though all the requirements to answer YES to this question are not met

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

The adoption and/or promotion of ‘green ICT’ is of key strategic importance for the organisation

Examples of policy and practice which may support the EXCELLENT statement:

  1. ‘Green’ ICT is a key part of their philosophy
  2. Demonstrates a strategic approach
  3. Pioneers the use of green ICT to lessen other areas of environmental impact
  4. Sustainability issues always taken into account when purchasing or designing ICT products
  5. Actively seeks ‘green energy’ ICT service providers (data centres, internet, cloud computing)
  6. Actively engages staff in ‘green’ ICT
  7. Attempts to measures the energy consumption of ICT hardware, software and/or services and assesses environmental impact using scientific methodologies
  8. Performs due diligence on their e-waste recyclers as part of waste management
  9. Is used as a green ICT exemplar by other companies
To receive a score of 'Good'

Supports and practices ‘green ICT’

Examples of policy and practice which may support the GOOD statement:

  1. Has a commitment to purchase and use green ICT
  2. Uses ICT to lessen other areas of environmental impact
  3. Communicates green ICT programmes to employees
  4. Assesses the environmental impact and performance the most impactful ICT hardware, software or services
  5. Clear policy in E-waste management
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Takes some measures to practice ‘green ICT’ or clearly explains why ‘green IT’ is a peripheral issue for the business

Examples of policy and practice which may support the OKAY statement:

  1. Demonstrates awareness of green ICT initiatives
  2. Ad hoc efforts to promote green ICT use with staff
  3. Some efforts to reduce environmental impact through the use of ICT
  4. Ad hoc purchase of green ICT equipment when financially viable
  5. Donates unwanted ICT to appropriate charities or non-profit organisations for re-use
  6. Explains clearly why green ICT policies are not relevant or applicable to the business
To receive a score of 'Poor'

Company fails to adopt appropriate and credible levels of ‘green’ ICT despite arguments and opportunities to do so

Examples of policy and practice which may support the POOR statement:

  1. The organisation acknowledges performance below expectations
  2. Statement of future intent to improve
  3. No evident efforts to practice any green ICT initiatives
  4. No consideration of buying sustainable ICT products

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