Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Unleashing Your Inner Green Hero, Part 2

Large organizations worldwide are creating sustainability initiatives, and setting aggressive goals to cut their carbon footprints. Those initiatives are creating mandates across the company to reduce waste, and consider the long-term impact of various processes and decisions – everything from manufacturing to supply chain, IT policy, travel and commute policies and more.

Setting ambitious goals is one thing, achieving them in a measurable way is another.

Deb Horvath at Washington Mutual, by the way, is a hero. According to CIO Magazine, her organization is set to save more than $3 million dollars a year by implementing green IT policies organization wide.

Ron Spalter is also a hero. The deputy COO for City University of New York (CUNY) organized the individual IT departments for more than 15 CUNY campuses to cut their IT power consumption by more than $3 million over five years (PDF), putting hundreds of thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year.

But for every C-level executive who’s taken a leadership and early adopter position on identifying and executing sustainable initiatives internally and externally for their organizations, there are dozens of regular people – like you and I – with sustainable ideas, inspiration and ambition.

I see this every day at Verdiem.com. The vast majority of interest we get in green IT solutions is from individual employees throughout organizations – mostly from IT, but elsewhere in the company as well.

My favorite was the HR manager from a large Midwest-based company who was passionate about helping make her company more sustainable, and also knew that tangible “green” results would help with both employee morale and recruiting.

She was just one example of countless employees throughout your organization who just may hold the secret to true environmental progress and sustainable results – for your products, your processes, your customers and your brand.

And the beautiful thing about individual ideas and initiatives is that their true impact is rarely confined to the pure task at hand.

Forrester Research recently talked about the idea of Green IT Heroes in an attempt to inspire IT professionals to think well beyond the traditional IT boundaries in terms of the sustainability impact they could have on their organization.

Sure, IT groups can directly impact things like equipment lifecycle management, energy consumption and more.

But IT can also impact telecommuting options. By partnering with the HR group, IT can create and implement secure remote-access options that make telecommuting a more meaningful, seamless and productive option for more employees.

By proposing and initiating ideas like this, says Forrester, IT can be an even greater Green Hero in the organization.

And those ideas clearly don’t need to originate from the CIO. They can start anywhere in the organization, as long as that individual has both the passion and the opportunity to share.

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