Sustainability efforts are material to investors only to the extent they affect cash flows. What matters depends on the industry.
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While working on our Green IT Maturity Scan I was considering how to integrate Green IT into something like ITIL. I don’t think that will be very difficult. In a way sustainability is similar to availability or security. So, besides availability and capacity management, you can have the process (or function) sustainability management. You can have a sustainability manager responsible for making the IT infrastructure more sustainable and thus more green. He can report on a regular basis on the level of sustainability (we have a Green IT Maturity Scan that can help) and come up with a plan to improve energy efficiency and to save on paper. From an architecture perspective it will not be very difficult to come up with acceptance criteria for new releases or services based on sustainability.
There is good business sense in creating a sustainability process within the ITIL framework: it will save on cost. Choosing wisely on which hardware to use for instance will save on electricity bills. Applying Green IT principles will also mean that the overall costs of IT will go down. And IT is not only a polluting factor, it can also bring solutions to the business to improve the overall level of sustainability. This enabling role ois in a way the promise IT made years ago when it turned from Automation into Information Management. Unfortunate, most IT organizations are no yet mature enough to be taken serious as a partner for the business. Therefore, sustainability management should first focus on IT itself, keeping the business in mind of course, before it will be allowed to address sustainability issues within the business.
Interesting enough, we’ve been transforming IT organizations using frameworks like ITIL over the past 15 years and we’ve learned that mature IT organizations will be more in control and therefore will become more sustainable. By being more aware of waste in infrastructure and processes, and being in control of addressing these issues, IT organizations have become more sustainable.
a. Make someone responsible for the process/function Sustainability Management in the sam way as Capacity Management
b. Transforming IT organizations using ITIL will make the infrastructure more Green