Using ICT to go green
According to Michael Kramer, a managing partner and director of Social Research at Natural Investments, a sustainable and responsible investment adviser since 1985, climate change is a real business risk and challenge. In fact, Calvert Investments, Ceres, and Oxfam America issued a guide to disclosing and managing Physical Risks from Climate Change in 2012.
However, with risk and challenges, come opportunities. GreenBiz.com views the greening of information technology (IT) as enabling companies to significantly improve their bottom line through energy efficiency, smart e-waste management, and greening data centers with virtualization or cloud computing.
This newsletter takes a look at four organizations that are transforming the environmental challenges in to business opportunities through the use of green, innovative ICT.Tell us your thoughts on this story
LaserNetworks - Delivering green imaging peace of mind!
Chris Stoate, President, LaserNetworks
Printing is an everyday activity in business that can quickly become a substantial expense. Since 1987, LaserNetworks has searched for better ways to enable companies to reduce the cost and environmental footprint of printing. The company has gone from being a toner cartridge recycler in Oakville, Ontario to being North America's largest dedicated Managed Printer Services (MPS) provider today.
“Right from the beginning LaserNetworks has tried to find better ways to do things as well as better ways for customers to manage processes that already exist,” said Chris Stoate, President of LaserNetworks. “We have focused on providing our customers with a superior alternative to either their in-house management process or any external alternatives that may exist.”
The most significant breakthrough for LaserNetworks was recognizing that the printer business was burdened with a distribution model from its history as a computer peripheral that was sold, delivered, and managed through the Value Added Reseller (VAR) channel. This all changed when the laser printer came in. Printing migrated away from copiers to these desktop printers as they became faster (currently 45-50 pages a minute) multi-functional devices that could scan and photocopy. The distribution model of the printer as a computer peripheral no longer provided a suitable support infrastructure as people became increasingly dependent on these multi-functional devices.
Originally LaserNetworks core offering was supplies. It developed a reusable toner cartridge that was more environmentally friendly by rebuilding spent toner cartridges with more robust components. This involved a significant investment by Laser Networks on the first remanufacturing cycle. Thereafter, it was more economical and environmentally friendly – at the time an independent lifecycle analysis revealed that this process was 80% better in terms of environmental footprint. Although this is no longer a dominant product, the principle of reducing costs and environmental footprint for the customer is deeply embedded in LaserNetworks DNA.
The Cost Per Page® program LaserNetworks developed in 1996 was a printer and multi-function fleet management process that enabled customers to pay by the page for printing and made toner yield and service cost LaserNetworks problem. According to Chris, this created an uptake in reusable cartridges as it gave customers a proper infrastructure for the management of their printer fleets and made the choice of supplies irrelevant.
“For the first time our customers knew what they were paying per page and which devices were printing how much. This allowed them to better deploy printer assets and compare costs with alternatives proposed by other vendors. From a budgeting point of view, they did not get hit with large service charges or surprises in the volume of cartridge use. We were also one of the first to use two-way communications (via BlackBerry) that dispatched technicians by email and provided our customers with highly responsive service and reliable device availability reporting. All of this enabled us to grow our equipment, printer fleet management and service businesses. Today remanufactured toner cartridges are only a part of a suite of products and services designed to provide printing and imaging peace of mind.”
Going forward, LaserNetworks sees the installation of software aimed at controlling print (rules-based printing) as the next step. This provides customers with the ability to control printing output as well as reporting on who is printing and what application they are printing from. Essentially LaserNetworks is bringing business process improvement (BPI) into the work flow inside an organization. This is the next evolution of MPS to overcome the BPI bottlenecks at the level of information presentment, thereby streamlining formerly paper-bound processes.
Last year LaserNetworks joined the Xerox Canada family as a wholly-owned, independently-managed subsidiary. Xerox is an ideal partner as it has a significant sales organization, is committed to a services-led business model, and is dedicated to sustainability. Consequently, LaserNetworks expects to grow its market share in sustainable, hard copy management while increasing revenue from consulting services and software in the BPI area aimed at reducing costs and environmental impact.Tell us your thoughts on this story
SaskTel - Making the most out of being green
Greg Hern, Environment Department Manager, SaskTel
Saskatchewan Telecommunications Holding Corporation (SaskTel) was recently named as one of Canada's Greenest Employers – for the fifth year in a row!
A crown corporation and the leading full service communications provider in Saskatchewan, SaskTel has been on a quest to significantly reduce its environmental footprint since the early 1990s when it established a Corporate Environment Department. It then developed and publicized its first Environmental Strategy in 2005 and expects to release its second Environmental Strategy this summer.
For SaskTel, becoming a sustainable company means protecting the future by making the environment an important strategic factor in all business decisions and setting an example for others to follow.
“We have recognized as an organization that there are social and economic benefits to becoming more environmentally conscious,” said Greg Hern, Environment Department Manager at SaskTel. “One of the most positive things from our perspective is that employees and departments have integrated environmentally responsible practices into their day-to-day operations. We’ve got excellent recycling at several of our warehouses, Corporate Services managed major lighting changes of their own accord and most Customer Service Technicians aren’t letting vehicles idle like they used to. Essentially, the message is getting through, so employees and work groups are taking action on their own.”
SaskTel’s approach to environmental sustainability has three internal focus areas:
- Managing its environmental impact: By aligning its Environmental Management System with ISO 14001 standards to enable every business unit and subsidiary to constantly evaluate its environmental impact and assess risks.
- Innovation: Every employee is encouraged to consider the environment in every decision they make.
- Influence: SaskTel works with suppliers, contractors, dealers and other partners to encourage good environmental practices.
Externally, the focus is on helping customers meet their own environmental goals while providing ways to increase efficiency. For example, creating wireless services that allow SaskTel customers to work from wherever they are thereby reducing the need to travel and the carbon footprint.
SaskTel is always looking at what services it can provide that can help people become more environmentally sustainable. One of the ways it is doing this is through its new networks that can run videoconferencing at near in–the-same-room clarity. This can significantly decrease the need to travel for its employees and customers thereby saving time and money, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
SaskTel believes that its engaged employees play an enormous role in delivering on its commitment to environmental sustainability. It therefore continues to maintain an environment that supports employees by offering them numerous opportunities (for training, community involvement, feedback, and extracurricular activities) throughout the course of their careers.
Not surprisingly SaskTel was recently named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for 2013 for the 13th consecutive year - the only Saskatchewan employer to have been awarded that distinction. Greg sees the winning of this award as being directly related.
“I don’t think it is a coincidence that we are winning these awards as we have a very engaged workforce. On the sustainability front, a lot of ideas come from our employees who are conscious of the need to reduce the environmental footprint at work and at home. In fact, winning the awards is a compliment to the people that work at SaskTel.”
SaskTel faces several challenges as it continues its quest to reduce its environmental footprint. One of the main challenges is continued growth in its customer’s base, especially in wireless. With this growth comes increased electrical consumption as its network infrastructure (more servers mean more air conditioners to cool them and more towers in the field) grows to meet the demand for services. Consequently, one of SaskTel’s primary priorities for the next five years is focussing on managing electrical consumption.
This priority is not uncommon as it is shared by growing ICT companies and other industries in Canada. One thing is for sure though, in terms of sustainability, SaskTel has certainly set an example for others to follow.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Navantis - Creating green solutions through exceptional listening
Barry Gervin (top), Director, Enterprise Development & Consulting Practice at Navantis
Mark AuCoin, Director, CRM Solutions, Navantis
Navantis is in the business of providing innovative solutions that facilitate better ways of doing business. In order to provide the needed combination of strategy, design and technology in a way that helps its customers turn business challenges into opportunities, Navantis listens exceptionally.
A major business challenge faced by companies today is the reduction of business travel - a substantial financial cost and a major contributor to CO2 emissions. Navantis set out wanting to ensure that it and its customers could find out what the true environmental impact and financial costs of an in-person meeting was. Its solution: Green Meeting.
Built on the online meeting framework provided by Microsoft (MS) Lync Server, Green Meeting integrates with MS Bing Maps, uses sophisticated stats and Geographic Information System data to calculate the total time, cost, and carbon savings to help measure the business impact of meetings.
“Our goal was to incentivize people to use Green Meeting by letting them see the environmental impact of having an online meeting versus an in person meeting. So we wrapped the process of creating new online meetings with the capture of user information at the meeting including user means of transport and location,” said Barry Gervin, Director, Enterprise Development & Consulting Practice at Navantis. “This allows the meeting organizer to specify the physical location to calculate travel costs, time out of office and carbon output. Everyone on the online meeting can see how these results are contributing to their company’s environmental goals and potentially help motivate employees to be more fiscally and environmentally responsible.”
The cost savings of Green Meeting are substantial. According to Barry, for one of Navantis's customers (one of the large banks in Canada) using Green Meeting, over the course of 40 business days, the traffic to in-person meetings instead of online conferences would have cost:
- $2.7M if staff would have been reimbursed $0.50/km.
- Another $640,000 if staff would have been paid $10/hour for their time.
Moreover, the reduction of carbon output was big – Over 1400 tonnes of greenhouse gases (GHG) would have been released using a very conservative 0.000264 Tonnes GHG/km.
Currently, Green Meeting is an add-in on MS Outlook but the next version will be integrated into a cloud solution (which is particularly cost-effective for small and medium businesses) in line with the current mobile device trend. This version will include social media integration so that customers can set automated tweets and status messages updating followers of their meeting and the emissions avoided.
Creating solutions that can take advantage of the latest technology and drive behaviour is central to what Navantis does. Take for instance its Conservation Demand Management (CDM) solution for utilities. Utilities today run marketing programs aimed at educating and encouraging consumers of energy to change their energy consumption behaviours. To do this successfully requires a comprehensive CDM system.
Navantis first worked with Toronto Hydro CDM team to develop, using Dynamic CRM as a platform, a CDM system integrated with the Ontario Power Authority (OPA). This system allowed the tracking of incoming applications, applicants, and vendors that assist the applicants as well as all the phone calls, meetings, emails and inspections. Document management along with some management dash-boarding of reporting for important dates, payouts, etc. was included in the system.
Mark AuCoin, Director, CRM Solutions at Navantis, views this system as being multifaceted and one for the future:
"This system provides local distribution companies (LDCs), like Toronto Hydro, with what they lack, namely, a well-managed relational database of information. This gives them the ability to set relations between vendors and applicants and get insight into the activity of both. In the future, this system could eventually become a turn-key cloud-based solution integrated with maps to enable better demographic data. Mobile devices could also be leveraged to deliver inspection results and other relevant details in real-time. Then there is also a marketing aspect as the campaigns module of the CRM allows email blasts and direct interaction with applicants and vendors.”
Navantis believes that when innovation is relentlessly redefined, remarkable things can happen in terms of economic and environmental benefits. All it takes is some exceptional listening.Tell us your thoughts on this story
Canada’s IT Industry Drives Responsible Recycling for End-of-Life Electronics
Jay Illingworth, Director, Harmonization Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA)
Have you ever wondered what happens to your old TV, computer, or printer after you dispose of them?
Today, we are fortunate that most Canadians have an accessible option to have their end-of-life-electronics (EOLE) responsibly recycled thanks to the setting of standards for the responsible recycling of EOLE in 2003. At that time, leaders in Canada’s consumer electronics and information technology industries (spear-headed by ITAC’s environment committee) joined forces to create Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC) – a not-for-profit organization established to design, promote and implement sustainable solutions for Canada’s electronic waste problem.
Fast forward ten years, during which we see the advent of industry-led, related stewardship programs lead by EPRA in seven provinces and the establishment of the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA) to drive the efficiencies of harmonization. Created by Canada’s electronics industry, EPRA is a national, not-for-profit organization chartered with improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Canada’s industry-led and provincially-regulated electronic stewardship programs.
Setting the standard for electronics recycling in Canada
Setting the standard for recycling began in 2004 when EPSC developed the first Electronics Recycling Standard (ERS) as a means to prevent illegal exporting and ensure that proper controls were in place to appropriately manage the risks associated with processing EOLE.
Beyond simply diverting material from landfill, the original ERS established the minimum requirements for electronics recyclers to ensure that EOLE were processed in a safe, environmentally sound and responsible manner, while enforcing accountability of the material through the processing stream until the point of final disposition.
Some key elements incorporated into the ERS include:
- Detailed environmental, health & safety requirements;
- A ban on the landfilling of EOLE;
- Prohibition of the use of prison labor in processing EOLE;
- Prohibition of shipping of EOLE or hazardous materials to developing/non-OECD countries; and
- The basis for downstream accountability for all materials.
The setting of the ERS has aided in the development of responsible recycling practices for EOLE. It has also assisted the producers of electronics to not only meet their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations but to ensure that in doing so EOLE are properly managed, kept out of landfill to reduce environmental risks. It also encourages the repurposing of valuable resources that are contained within EOLE.
Establishing RQO to manage recycler assessments
In 2010, EPSC and the industry-led EOLE stewardship programs created the Recycler Qualification Office (RQO). The RQO operates under EPRA and audits recyclers in accordance with a revised version of the ERS which has been incorporated into the broader Recycler Qualification Program (RQP); a single, complete source of information to the entire audit and approval process. Since inception, the ERS has been revised and updated with the intention to drive recyclers to better understand their specific operations/risks, and maintain adequate controls to prevent accidents, injuries or releases. This approach ensures a level of consistency in the application of the ERS for all recyclers throughout Canada.
Through this approval process, we have seen more than 40 electronics recyclers and refurbishers become verified to the ERS, and only those processors audited and approved under the RQP are permitted to submit a bid and enter into contract with the program to process a portion of the material collected. This approach is critical in verifying that the primary recyclers are handling the material in a responsible manner and ensures full downstream accountability.
RQO employs a team of trained and qualified certified environmental management assessors to audit the elements of the ERS RQP. The RQP assessment process is designed to be detailed and rigorous in order to ensure that recyclers are handling the EOLE in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. In order to pass the assessment process the recycler must not only maintain evidence on paper of conformance with the ERS, but also be able to demonstrate that such processes have been implemented in the operations and along the entire downstream channel.
EPRA and the 4,000 steward companies we provide regulatory compliance services to, stand proud of the environmental leadership our industry has shown to Canadians from coast-to-coast.
For more info on EPRA’s programs across Canada, visit www.recycleMYelectronics.caTell us your thoughts on this story
May 21, 2013
ITAC Executive Briefing with Gina Rallis - Ottawa - NEW DATE
May 22, 2013
ITAC CWC Speakers Series: Women in Corporate LeadershipTAC Health Procurement Workshop
May 22, 2013
Broader Public Sector CIO Breakfast and Panel Discussion
ITAC Committees and Forums
May 28, 2013
ICT Industry Events
May 13 - May 15, 2013
May 14 - May 15, 2013
May 27 - May 28, 2013
For a full list of events, and to register for ITAC events, visit itac.ca
Desperately looking for talent - Interview of Karna Gupta, President & CEO, ITAC
Karna Gupta was recently interviewed by Martin Cash of the Winnipeg Free Press. This interview (video and text) deals with some of the key challenges facing Canada's ICT sector including: - Training - Blackberry and the Canadian ICT sector - International market development If you are in the ICT industry or just interested in ICT, you should take the time to see this interview.
Corinne Charette Provides Food for Thought at the Inaugural ITAC Series of Meetings with Government
ITAC hosted Corinne Charette, Chief Information Officer for Canada, at the first of a new series of meetings with government. Ms. Charette, who is responsible for leading policy development and enablement, management oversight and community capacity development for six policy areas (information management, information technology, identity management and security, access to information, privacy, and internal and external services) provided much food for thought during her talk.
ITAC Blog: Augmenting your Global Sales Team with Canada's Trade Commission Service
The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has a role to play in extending your company reach to new export markets. Through its intelligence gathering and the embedding of Trade Commissioner teams in many export markets, the service can provide advice, contacts and introductions to potential customers for your products or services in these markets.
Other News and Events
Shared Services Canada expands role
Shared Services Canada (SSC) has expanded its role to include the acquisition of hardware and software, including security software, for end-user devices. SSC's client base for this initiative has been increased to cover 106 Departments, including its original 43.
Government tenders get new home - Buyandsell.gc.ca
On June 1, 2013, federal government tenders (tender notices and bid solicitation documents), currently on MERX, will move to a Government of Canada Web site, Buyandsell.gc.ca/tenders. Read more about it here.