The need for lower carbon emissions, and the adoption of sustainable green practices, is vital to the growth of an information economy.
What has the UK government done to make its business processes more sustainable and how fundamental is ICT to the UK’s commitment to reduce energy consumption?
This topical theme was one among many pressing subjects covered at Whitehall Media’s 5th annual PSEICT conference.
Speaking before an audience of senior public sector professionals, Micheline Baines, Chief Information Officer at the Ministry of Defence, explained that the 2011 “Greening Government: ICT Strategy” includes such commitments as sharing and reusing infrastructure, recycling and donating surplus and redundant assets, reducing waste to landfills and encourages green practices from supply chains.
The 2011 Greening Government ICT vision outlines the need for ‘cost effective and energy efficient ICT estate, which is fully exploited, with environmental impacts to enable new and sustainable ways of working for the public sector’. The strategy sets about affirming 9 commitments and 20 actions to support and deliver on these commitments. Following its release, in one year alone, 12 central government departments saved an estimated £1.3 million.
Yet despite these impressive savings, Baines explains that:
“We do not [yet] have a single coherent disposal strategy, or standard, to date. It is fragmented. There is no real collaboration or coordinated approach between departments, or its very weak. It certainly isn’t managed centrally”.
Setting out the existing waste hierarchy in place, Baines elaborated that avoiding surplus is key, followed closely by reusing and recycling infrastructure. Finally, secure disposal – beginning with asset valuation, impact assessment and the identification of a secure method of destruction – are incremental to proper treatment and clearance.
Greening government brings with it an array of economic and environmental benefits, and uphold social and ethical commitments. Looking ahead, Baines explained that the government’s green delivery unit is working towards carving out a cross-sector strategic approach with government, industry, academia and citizens to ensure the secure and sustainable disposal of ICT assets – delivering zero waste to landfill and allowing for the tracking and reporting of measurable benefits from greater environmental consciousness.
Whitehall Media’s 6th annual PSEICT conference will take place on 11 November, 2014. Please check www.whitehallmedia.co.uk for more details about the event.