Using ICT to Drive Your Sustainability Strategy

By Hugh Saddington¹ and Paul Toni²
April 2009

  1. Telstra, Strategy and Business Development, Sydney, Australia
  2. WWF, Climate Change and Sustainable Development, Sydney, Australia
As the issue of climate change becomes an increasing focus of government, public and industry concern, savvy organisations are recognising the imperative to have an effective sustainability strategy.

Taking mitigating action, through investment in technologies that could help reduce carbon footprints, such as network-centric ICT, will be central to achieving real and quantifiable sustainability and productivity inroads.

Any leading Australian organisation determined to have a long-term, successful future should be focused on improving sustainability. Organisations should recognise that it is now time to take responsible action and provide solutions that improve three key things: operational resilience, commercial sustainability and environmental sustainability.

No organisation, however, would be interested in introducing sustainable solutions without being able to quantify the environmental, commercial and social benefits.

There are easy, expedient and cost-effective ways for organisations to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases by adopting existing ICT technologies such as video conferencing, teleworking, web contact centres and fleet and field force management solutions.

Executive Summary

Australian corporations and government bodies face the imperative to create a platform in their own organisations to tackle the complex issue of climate change through sustainability strategies.

Sustainability means taking responsible action and providing solutions that improve operational resilience, commercial sustainability and environmental sustainability with the resultant environmental, commercial and social benefits. This is now more important than ever.

There is a wide range of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) solutions that have the potential to deliver a positive commercial outcome which can be modelled and proven whilst delivering a strong environmental and social benefit. WWF 1 has evaluated the role of ICT in meeting the challenge of climate change and concluded that if ICT was widely used it could help deliver up to 2-7 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas emission reductions annually, simply by scaling up proven, commercially viable solutions.

Many organisations have started a sustainability journey towards reducing their own contributions to greenhouse gas emissions in recognition of a burning platform for change. There is mounting pressure to embrace environmental and social responsibilities to address greenhouse gas emissions at a corporate level, the onset of government policy, carbon pricing increasing energy costs and the imperative of maintaining market relevance, credibility and competitiveness.

In order to address these growing imperatives, Australian organisations need to take action on two fronts: making operational changes through investments in new technology as enablers of sustainability outcomes and changing employee behaviours.

ICT solutions are instrumental to achieving sustainability outcomes for Australian organisations. Government policy is setting substantial national carbon mitigation and abatement targets, which will require large-scale energy conservation of the kind that ICT can demonstrably help to deliver. Operationally, ICT can also be a key productivity and efficiency enabler, helping organisations improve performance from the individual through to the enterprise level. ICT solutions will also prove to be critical in a time of global economic uncertainty, providing cost-effective solutions that will drive both productivity and sustainability benefits.

This white paper discusses climate change, its implications for Australian industry and the benefits in organisations pursuing an environmental sustainability strategy in particular. It demonstrates easy, expedient and cost-effective ways for organisations that could help reduce their energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by adopting ICT solutions including Telstra’s next generation networks and existing ICT technologies, implemented by Telstra’s Next Generation Services. Solutions including video conferencing, teleworking, web contact centres, fleet and field force management are examined.

Telstra, with Capgemini’s assistance, has developed sophisticated Return on Investment (ROI) tools to quantify the benefits of using these solutions in terms of reduced environmental footprint, operating costs, employee productivity and improved energy efficiency. These benefits are further examined in case studies in this white paper. Telstra’s ROI tools demonstrate that organisations employing proven ICT solutions can make the transition to less energy-intensive technology platforms and business processes with quantifiable commercial outcomes, whilst delivering strong environmental and social benefits. This ensures that large organisations can ultimately drive productivity and growth in a sustainable way.

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