Tag Archives: low-carbon

Why the public sector must stop buying printers

In the first in a series of Campaign4Change guest insights, Tracey Rawling Church, Director of Brand and Reputation at Kyocera Mita UK explains what steps the public sector needs to take to transform its procurement of printers and make its ITTs more cost efficient and low-carbon friendly

To cut its costs and carbon emissions, the public sector should stop buying printers. That may seem a ridiculous statement, coming from an imaging company executive, but actually there’s a serious point here. Most ITTs are written around a notional product – calling for a certain number of machines of a certain specification. And the tender process is quite rigid, so companies invited to tender are forced to propose a solution that fits the criteria in the ITT.

But in many organisations, the number of devices has crept up over time and device to user ratios are unnecessarily high – so replacing machines on a one-for-one basis only perpetuates a system that has become bloated and inefficient.

Sometimes the decision is made to consolidate devices, replacing desktop printers with shared multifunctional devices and an ITT is written on that basis, but to achieve real efficiencies that could reduce costs by typically 30% and carbon by as much as half, a detailed print audit should be undertaken to determine precisely what hardware is needed at which locations to support business processes.

However, even this approach misses the opportunity to obtain a solution that is properly optimised not just at the point of implementation, but into the future.

In the private sector, there is a growing trend towards managed document services, a holistic approach that encompasses every aspect of the printing and imaging needs of an organisation.

A managed document service project begins with a detailed audit of both the machines currently in place and the document flows through and within the organisation. Then a solution is designed that aims to reduce reliance on hard copy by combining document management software with a fleet of machines that have exactly the right functionality to support the document flow.

In most cases, this results in a much smaller number of devices, usually with more extensive functionality than those they replace. A bespoke service contract is crafted that includes remote monitoring of device states, service support to agreed service levels and detailed reporting of device use that can be segmented and analysed in a myriad of ways. And using the business intelligence gained from the reporting suite, the service can be continuously optimised to ensure it remains efficient, accommodating changes in the organisation over time.

For example, the managed document solution provided for insurance giant RSA has reduced paper consumption by 21% in just one year – despite the fact that their product depends on having a printed certificate. And energy consumed by imaging devices has been reduced by 55% with resulting savings in both electricity costs and CRC levies.

As you can imagine, this type of service doesn’t fit easily into a device-centric ITT. So vendors who know they could save cash and carbon through applying a managed document service are forced to respond with a ’round peg, square hole’ solution that is less than ideal, simply because the tender process focuses on products rather than outcomes.

Concerns about carbon emissions and resource scarcity are driving the evolution of innovative business models that overturn conventional norms and challenge the status quo. But unless procurement processes keep pace with these changes, the benefits of this fresh thinking won’t be realised.

To really drive through change, let’s have ITTs written by commercial managers and procurement departments that focus on objectives and targets rather than feeds and speeds. Throw down a challenge to reduce paper consumption by x, cut energy use by y% and drive down costs by z and see what the industry comes up with. I guarantee it will deliver solutions that are more resource efficient, productive and economical.

Events: http://www.kyoceramita.co.uk/index/events.html

MDS in the public sector http://www.kyoceramita.co.uk/index/mds/mds_in_the_public.html
RSA case study
For more information on the full results of the latest independent research into printing attitudes and behaviour,  email Tracey Rawling Church: trc@kyoceramita.co.uk

Carbon Disclosure Project report discusses energy saving and low carbon benefits of Cloud Computing

David Bicknell

One of the most informed and engaging writers around sustainability and business is Andrew Winston, who writes a blog called Finding the Gold in Green and writes for the Harvard Business Review as well.

His blog discusses  a new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project about the sustainability benefits of Cloud Computing

Here’s the intro to the report:

Across business, executives are looking for ways in which they can operate more sustainably and thereby increase their competitive edge. Information Communications Technology (ICT) is seen as a key area of focus for achieving sustainability goals. This report shows that business use of cloud computing can play an important role in an organisation’s sustainability and IT strategies: improving business process efficiency and flexibility whilst decreasing the emissions of IT operations.

This study used detailed case study evidence from 11 global firms and assessed the financial benefits and potential carbon reductions for a firm opting for a particular cloud computing service. It also demonstrates how projected cloud computing adoption could drive economy-wide business benefits from a financial and carbon reduction perspective in the US.

The results show that by 2020, large U.S. companies that use cloud computing can achieve annual energy savings of $12.3 billion and annual carbon reductions equivalent to 200 million barrels of oil – enough to power 5.7 million cars for one year.

The report also delves into the advantages and potential barriers to cloud computing adoption and gives insights from the multi-national firms that were interviewed.

UK to cut emissions targets by 50% by 2025

By David Bicknell

Here are the details of the Government’s statement on carbon emissions, made by Energy & Climate Change Secretary Chris Huhne, taken from the Department of Energy & Climate Change website:

“The Climate Change Act 2008 sets a target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK by at least 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. The Act also requires Government to set carbon budgets, which are limits on greenhouse gas emissions in the UK for consecutive five year periods. These carbon budgets must be set at least three budget periods in advance. They are designed to put emission reductions on an appropriate and cost-effective pathway to our 2050 target.

“The first three carbon budgets were set in 2009, following advice from the independent Committee on Climate Change. The Fourth Carbon Budget – the limit on emissions for the five year period from 2023 to 2027 – has to be set in law by the end of June 2011.

“As advised by the Committee on Climate Change, the level we propose setting in law would mean that net emissions over the Fourth Carbon Budget period should not exceed 1950 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. – a 50% reduction from 1990 levels.

“As required by the Climate Change Act, once the Fourth Carbon Budget has been set in law, we will publish a report setting out the policies and proposals required in the medium-long term to meet the budget, building on the strong foundation provided by our existing policies. This will take the form of the revised government carbon plan later this year, following the publication of the interim version in March.

“..the Committee on Climate Change advised that we should aim to meet the Budget through emissions reductions in the UK rather than relying on carbon trading, such as under the EU Emissions Trading System or the purchase of international credits from projects abroad. We will aim to reduce emissions domestically as far as is practical and affordable. But we also intend to keep our carbon trading options open – to maintain maximum flexibility, and minimise costs in the medium-long term. Given the uncertainty of looking so far ahead, this is a pragmatic approach.

“Under the Climate Change Act, emissions reductions by the UK’s industrial and power sectors are determined by the UK’s share of the EU Emissions Trading System cap. This protects UK industrial and power sectors from exceeding EU requirements. However if the EU ETS cap is insufficiently ambitious, this could mean placing disproportionate strain on other sectors outside the EU ETS such as transport.‪

“To overcome this and to provide clearer signals for businesses and investors, government will review progress towards the EU emissions goal in early 2014. If at that point our domestic commitments place us on a different emissions trajectory than the Emissions Trading System trajectory agreed by the EU, we will, as appropriate, revise up our budget to align it with the actual EU trajectory.

“In line with the Coalition Agreement, Government will continue to argue for an EU move to a 30% target for 2020, and ambitious action in the 2020s.

“As part of the transition to a low carbon economy, we need to ensure that energy intensive industries remain competitive and that we send a clear message that the UK is open for business. Before the end of the year we will be announcing a package of measures for energy intensive businesses whose international competitiveness is most affected by our energy and climate change policies. Rising electricity costs pose a key risk to these sectors which are critical to our growth agenda. We will, therefore, take steps to reduce the impact of government policy on the cost of electricity for these businesses, thereby allowing them to continue to play their part in delivering our green industrial transformation. In this way, we will ensure that that these sectors remain internationally competitive and we send a clear message that the UK is open for business.”

Eco-Xchange plan set to offer greener commuting alternative

  By David Bicknell

The Government’s new Carbon Plan has insisted that if we are to see large-scale take-up of electric vehicles as a major form of road transport, developing a charging infrastructure will also be vital and the Government has committed to mandating a national recharging network. By June 2011, the Government will produce a strategy setting out how it will promote the provision of nationwide recharging infrastructure.  And we can probably expect something to emerge about low-carbon transport in the Budget this week.

The reality is that travelling into and around towns has never been more expensive or congested. Fares are increasing three times faster than inflation on public transport that is overcrowded and unreliable. Electric and hybrid cars will reduce emissions and pollution, but issues of congestion and parking in urban conurbations will prevail.

Public transport can be modernised and capacity increased to a point, but this will demand massive investment and space within cities is already at a premium for houses and office space, without additional demands from the transport infrastructure.

A new paper from the influential Eco-Xchange group, which sets out to look at green ‘in black and white’  argues that a different approach is needed that looks at the complete picture and provides a solution that is cost effective, flexible, environmentally responsible, and takes into account the specific issues of inner-city travel.

 The paper, ‘Why Commute When you can ComOOt’, argues that two wheels are better than four when it comes to getting from A to B in over-crowded city environments. By providing a range of electric powered two-wheelers from pedal bikes to motorbikes aimed specifically at getting the workforce to work, Eco-Xchange  argues it will be possible to save on public transport subsidies, reduce congestion and lower carbon emissions.  The ComOOT plan also includes secure parking and charging facilities, and the maintenance services needed to keep the wheels of business turning.

There is evidence that Olympic organisers and Transport for London are increasingly worried about the demands that the Games will place on London’s transport infrastructure and have suggested that visitors should not rely on public transport to get them to the Games’ venues in a timely fashion. At the same time, City businesses are also concerned that the additional demand on, already overcrowed, roads and rail services will lead to severe problems for their workforce and disruption to their business.

The average range of the bikes proposed would allow a comfortable return journey from the West End to the main Olympic site near Leyton.   

There is an element of social enterprise to the scheme too because Eco-Xchange argues that ComOOt  will provide a wide range of jobs covering everything from general servicing and support to general operational management, set up on a social enterprise basis, under a  Community Interest Company model.  The focus will be on offering a range of apprenticeships and vocational training as well as operational jobs at local and national level. 

According to Eco-Xchange, ComOOt is an ongoing project and will require R&D in all areas to improve the system over time. This will particularly suit those just starting out in the workplace who will benefit from  gaining qualifications and training on an ongoing basis in the new and growing industry sectors in the Cleantech and Greentech economies. 

Eco-Xchange acts as an interface between buyers and suppliers to develop and improve the adoption of ecoproducts in the business environment. It is acting as consultants to ComOOt, helping both to source the various components needed for the service, and to develop business plans and promote this excellent idea for inner-city travel. As part of the promotion of ComOOt Eco-Xchange has assisted with, and sponsored a paper that sets out the concept and looks for a founding partner or sponsor to help develop the scheme.

Anyone wishing to know more about ComOOt (or about Eco-Xchange) please contact enquiries@eco-xchange.com.

Libyan oil worry prompts Coalition to step up ‘Green’ strategy including new ‘Carbon Plan’

By David Bicknell

Reports over the weekend suggest that the government is expected to take steps – possibly in the Budget on March 23rd –  to ‘wean’ the country off oil,  amid fears that the Libyan battle for power  has created uncertainty over fuel supplies, and left consumers  facing a further rise in fuel prices.

The reports suggest every government department will be told this week to comply with a new national “carbon plan” aimed specifically at “getting off the oil hook”.

The energy secretary, Chris Huhne, told the Observer that the UK had no option but to speed up efforts to move away from oil. “Getting off the oil hook is made all the more urgent by the crisis in the Middle East. We cannot afford to go on relying on such a volatile source of energy when we can have clean, green and secure energy from low-carbon sources,” he said. “The carbon plan is about ensuring that the whole of government is engaged in a joined-up effort to lead us into a low-carbon world.”

One of the options being mooted is a nationwide strategy to promote installation of infrastructure for electric cars by June. It is also expected that new deadlines will be set for building low-carbon homes, and that a firm starting date of September 2012 will be established for a new “green investment bank” to become fully operational.

The Carbon Plan will be launched this week by  the Prime Minister, his deputy Nick Clegg, who is said to be driving the creation of the green investment bank,  and Huhne.

The Carbon Plan is being published in draft form ahead of a final version in the autumn, and will be updated annually. It will be unveiled as the centrepiece of a week of “green announcements” by ministers. The progress made by each department will be published quarterly on the 10 Downing Street website.

Low-carbon energy is a key theme of research council’s 2011-2015 delivery plan

By David Bicknell

With 2010 drawing to a close, it’s a good time to look ahead to the prospects for Green IT and low-carbon technologies in 2011. In many cases, beyond 2011, because plans for the adoption of low-carbon and Green IT technologies necessarily have to look towards the medium and long-term to be successful.

With that in mind, I was intrigued by the publication a few days before Christmas of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s (EPSRC) delivery plan for 2015.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences research Council (EPSRC) is the UK’s main agency for funding research in engineering and physical sciences, investing in research and postgraduate training to help handle the next generation of technological change.

According to EPSRC’s CEO, Professor Dave Delpy, the ‘ambitious’ delivery plan with programmes in sustainable manufacturing, low-carbon energy, healthcare and digital technologies ‘will help rebuild the UK economy and meet the challenges of the 21st century.’

The EPSRC plan is based on four main themes: Manufacturing the Future, Energy, the Digital Economy, and Healthcare Technologies.

Of these, the proposals under the Energy theme look particularly interesting:

* Accelerate the deployment of alternative energy technologies, working with TSB, ETI and others on joint challenges in offshore renewables, bioenergy, carbon capture and storage and eco-efficient technologies.

* Work with the Low Carbon Innovation Group to target technologies with the potential to meet the UK’s CO2 reduction targets.

* Maximise the relevance of our portfolio and accelerate the route to impact by exploiting our partnerships with over 500 public and private sector organisations.

* Pursue high-risk, high-return speculative research to define future energy options – for example, the UK Fusion Programme and Grand Challenges such as next generation renewables and transport.

* Exploit our major links with China, India and the US, enabling leading researchers to address global energy challenges together.

* Support research on the social, environmental, economic and technical implications of energy research in order to understand future energy options.

* Train and develop new researchers, policymakers and business leaders in order to build UK capacity and vision of the whole energy innovation landscape.

Inevitably for organisations like EPSRC, collaborations with Government Departments are critical and EPSRC has links with over 10 government departments. In addition to contributing to policy development in areas such as climate change, transport and nuclear power, it has a high-profile collaboration with Department for Transport on sustainable transport; it is supporting a jointly-funded Natural and Environmental Risk Centre with Defra18; and it is working with the MoD on projects such as the generation of electricity from human movement that will make soldiers ‘battery-free’.

In this Delivery Plan period, EPSRC expects to build, or maintain, strong relationships with key departments both to provide advice and share information on future research priorities; create routes for timely policy advice to ministers and provide policymakers with better access to our current portfolio; and combine resources to create strategic programmes attracting business leverage while securing multiplier effects for public funding.

DECC faces Renewable Sources Challenge

By David Bicknell

Interesting story from Reuters today saying Britain will miss its 2010 goal of making 10 percent of electricity from renewable sources, according to a Public Accounts Committee report.

According to the PAC report into the funding of renewable energy, the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has admitted it will not meet the government’s own target of increasing the share of low-carbon renewable energy in Britain’s electricity supply to 10 percent by the end of 2010.

DECC estimates that over 30 percent of electricity will have to come from renewable sources by 2020 in order to meet the target set by the EU to get 15 percent of all Britain’s energy from renewables by the end of the decade.

The share of renewables crept slowly up from 2.7 percent in 2000 to 6.7 percent at the end of 2009, leaving Britain lagging in performance for green energy growth and making it a challenge to reach the 2020 goals.

According to PAC chairman Margaret Hodge, DECC will have to have a “greater sense of urgency and purpose if it is to achieve the dramatic increase in renewable energy supplies needed to meet the goals.”

The PAC went on, “We are concerned that the Department agreed to the legally binding EU-target to supply 15 percent of the UK’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, without clear plans, targets for each renewable energy technology, estimates of funding required or understanding how the rate at which planning applications for onshore wind turbines were being rejected might affect progress.”

Although the DECC is responsible for ensuring Britain reaches the targets, which are aimed at cutting emissions of climate warming gases from the energy sector, funding is actually delivered through a number of routes that DECC does not control.

Potential developers of renewable energy projects have said they could delay projects until it is clear what level of funding the different technologies – from offshore wind to solar and wave power – will get.

The report says some 40 percent of renewable schemes in England do not get planning approval, while others fail to get adequate funding.