Sustainablog

This blog will cover some news items related to Sustainability: Corporate Social Responsibility, Stewardship, Environmental management, etc.

21.5.07

Fw: AMR Green Technology Services report: "Big Green: IBM and the ROI of Environmental Leadership" - External Distribution

Here is a great analyst report on IBM's environmental stewardship. I'll be posting it on the wiki, but in the meantime, do let me know if you see any potential use -- customers, media, etc. Tom would like to track how this report is used to make sure it's leveraged appropriately ( = a lot! :-)

Jean-François Barsoum
Gestion de l'innovation :: ThinkPlace :: Master Innovation Catalyst
1360 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montréal (Québec) H3G 2W6 Canada
jbarsoum@ca.ibm.com | tel (514) 964-4192 | fax (845) 491-2412

Corporate Responsibility/ Responsabilité sociale : News / Nouvelles | W3 Community / Communauté W3 | W3ki
Alternative Energy / Énergie propre: News / Nouvelles | W3 Community / Communauté W3
Value on TAP : W3 Blog
----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 21/05/2007 23:02 -----

          Tom Agoston/Somers/IBM@IBMUS

          14/05/2007 16:53


To

Ian Colley/White Plains/IBM@IBMUS, John Mihalec/France/IBM@IBMFR, Sehra Eusufzai/New York/IBM@IBMUS, Tom Wesdorp/Somers/IBM@IBMUS, William Runyon/Somers/IBM@IBMUS, Harriet Pearson/Armonk/IBM@IBMUS

cc

Dick McRedmond/White Plains/IBM, Nami Kaur/Watson/IBM, Natalie Fine/New York/IBM@IBMUS, Paridhi Verma/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Paul Frosch/Somers/IBM, Sharon Nunes/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Ajay K Royyuru/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Barbara A Eckman/Philadelphia/IBM@IBMUS, Gary Rancourt/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Janis K Tobias/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Jurij R Paraszczak/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Lloyd A Treinish/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, R P Williams/San Francisco/IBM@IBMUS, Rosalind Oakley/Watson/Contr/IBM@IBMUS, Stella B Havreluk/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Steven Rosenblatt/Somers/IBM@IBMUS, Thomas N Theis/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Tricia Donovan/Charlotte/Contr/IBM@IBMUS, Ian Abbott Donnelly/UK/IBM@IBMGB, Richard Toranzo/New York/IBM@IBMUS, Cathy Lasser/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Juhi K Jotwani/Raleigh/IBM@IBMUS, Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM@IBMCA, Steven Rosenblatt/Somers/IBM, Barbara A Eckman/Philadelphia/IBM@IBMUS, Gina Jorde/Somers/IBM@IBMUS

Subject

AMR Green Technology Services report: "Big Green: IBM and the ROI of Environmental Leadership" - External DistributionJean-Francois Barsoum
Hi Ian, Intelligent Energy E&C campaign Executive Team, and BGI teams:

Our contractual agreements with AMR allow us to distribute this report within IBM, and now externally as well. Please feel free to to post this report on internal/external web sites and distribute to customers. I would appreciate it if you would please let me know of any opportunities to leverage externally the report's broad coverage of our environmental stewardship and continuing our outreach to Influencers.
Please note that this AMR's report's essentials are already posted on our Intelligent Energy / E&C campaign wiki.
Thank you.

Regards,
Tom Svabhegy Agoston
External Relations Manager
IBM Industrial Sector
Tel: (914) 765 6124 t/l: 251
e-mail: agoston@us.ibm.com

Inactive hide details for Tom Agoston/Somers/IBMTom Agoston/Somers/IBM


          Tom Agoston/Somers/IBM

          04/17/2007 05:36 PM


To

Ian Colley/White Plains/IBM@IBMUS, Tom Wesdorp/Somers/IBM@IBMUS, Sehra Eusufzai/New York/IBM@IBMUS, Natalie Fine/New York/IBM@IBMUS, Harriet Pearson/Armonk/IBM@IBMUS, John Mihalec/France/IBM@IBMFR

cc

Dick McRedmond/White Plains/IBM, Paridhi Verma/Watson/IBM@IBMUS, Nami Kaur/Watson/IBM, Paul Frosch/Somers/IBM, William Runyon/Somers/IBM@IBMUS

Subject

AMR Green Technology Services report: "Big Green: IBM and the ROI of Environmental Leadership"
Hi Ian and E&C campaign Executive Team:

Please find below AMR Research's report published today on "Big Green: IBM and the ROI of Environmental Leadership." Reflecting AMR Green Technology lead John Davies' research and interviews with numerous IBM executives and SME's over the past several months, this report highlights IBM's leadership in issues across our Energy & Climate campaign.

Considering that this report was produced on AMR's own volition (it's not a sponsored "white paper"), the positive light in which it presents IBM is particularly notable -- it clearly confers leadership on IBM in environmental issues. It quotes Wayne Balta extensively, discusses IBM's history and pioneering in environmental stewardship (EMS, Recycling, PLM/GARS...), shows how IBM ties our values to products and initatives, explains how we "create products from values" (industry-specific solutions including Intelligent Oil Fields, Intelligent Utility Networks, Chicago Climate Exchange, integrated mass transit info systems...), and highlights SJP's Innovation Jam, Sharon Nunes' Big Green Innovations, Guido Bartels' IUN, as well as our value-based environmental reporting.... For your reference, the full report is attached in text and pdf forms below.

Regards,
Tom Svabhegy Agoston
External Relations Manager
IBM Industrial Sector
Tel: (914) 765 6124 t/l: 251
e-mail: agoston@us.ibm.com






Big Green: IBM and the ROI of Environmental Leadership
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

John Davies
Saving more than $100M since 1998 by conserving energy, IBM continues to set environmental goals while openly reporting its performance, proving good practices generate good money.

“Can we leverage our experience as a responsible company to make money?” Over the past several years, AMR Research has seen a rise in inquiries like this from senior executives regarding the social and environmental questions that face global corporations and their roles as leaders in addressing some of the world’s most difficult problems.

Industry leaders understand the need for building a sustainable business. Few, if any, question the impact of global warming. They all have concerns about energy security, and the role of globally responsible citizenship is taken seriously. Progressive business leaders also see unique opportunities for new products and services for the emerging green economy. For many executives, it is not what they can do individually, but how they can affect change within their organizations as well as the world at large. They are looking for lessons from the front lines that demonstrate a broader set of leadership principles.

IBM’s approach to the environment offers one such set of lessons. As a result of our research into Big Blue’s approach, we have identified three fundamental cultural traits that have informed IBM’s environmental initiatives of the past, present, and future:

    • Leadership responsibility—While its internal environmental stewardship initiatives have been broad, IBM has also participated as a founding member of numerous industry and governmental organizations and helped develop global standards for environmental excellence.
    • Open communication—Since the publication of its first environmental progress report, IBM has not only reported on its impact and progress in a clear and transparent manner, but has consistently communicated performance against its internal targets, which typically exceed government laws and regulations.
    • Values-driven organization—Throughout the organization, a concern for IBM’s impact on the environment is apparent, from product design to the establishment of business practices. Beyond merely “doing the right thing,” a concern for the environment is embedded at all levels of the organization.
For the purposes of this Report, we reviewed documents from the past 35 years and conducted numerous interviews to understand how IBM achieved its leadership position in environmental stewardship and what this might mean for the future.


Global challenges for global leaders—an IBM case study

In 1970, economist Milton Friedman argued in The New York Times that “the social responsibility of business is to increase its profits,” elaborating that “only people can have responsibilities…business as a whole cannot be said to have responsibilities.” He goes on to question whether it is the role of the corporate executive “to make expenditures on reducing pollution beyond the amount that is in the best interests of the corporation or that is required by law in order to contribute to the social objective of improving the environment.”

Since that time, public perception has shifted. Many now believe that businesses do have social responsibilities beyond increasing profits. But at the time when Friedman wrote his opinion, the people of IBM—executives and employees alike—already saw environmental stewardship as integral to their business. Their view was not only to meet regulatory requirements, but to set the standard for business while saving money and, eventually, discover new sources of revenue.

Creating the foundation for a higher standard

In 1990, IBM was one of the first companies to publicly issue an environment, health, and safety report, a forerunner of what we now refer to as a sustainability or corporate citizenship report. This initial document described its progress in addressing environmental issues, which coincided with the establishment of a corporate staff dedicated to environmental affairs. But this action and the 1990 report didn’t represent the beginning of IBM’s formal efforts to communicate the importance of environmental responsibility. A corporate policy issued by then chairman and CEO Thomas J. Watson, Jr. on May 26, 1971, instructed that “line management in IBM must be continuously on guard against adversely affecting the environment. This effort must include constant attention not only to the waste incident to producing a product, but also to the consequences of the processes established during product development.”

While this may be the first documented evidence of IBM’s perspective on the environment, executives who began their careers with the company at that time or earlier state that a concern for the environment was already a value embedded in the company’s culture. Several of the executives we interviewed reaffirmed that environmental policy at IBM was not a CEO mandate, but a part of the fabric of the culture. According to one source, IBM was communicating information about chemicals used in the workplace to employees and chemicals used in products to customers since the 1960s, 20 years before it was required by law.



“Perhaps the first of IBM’s environmental efforts was industrial wastewater treatment at our plants, back in the 1940s, years before treatment was required by law.” —John Serino, director of corporate environmental programs, 1989

From environmental reporting to Big Green innovations

In order to understand IBM’s position as a business with a strong sense of environmental stewardship, the evolution of the company’s role in this regard can be viewed in three overlapping phases. The values (and value) associated with environmental stewardship are central to all three phases (see Figure 1).



As IBM’s approach to environmental stewardship continues to evolve, the company has moved from sharing its experiences with external organizations and clients to identifying new business opportunities. The past few years have placed IBM at a turning point: the company’s initiatives are no longer focused solely on cost-cutting, but on providing a foundation for generating new sources of revenue.

Here are the overlapping phases that describe this journey:

    • Values-based environmental reporting—Critical to IBM’s environmental stewardship has been its long history of operational transparency. The firm is one of the first to publish aggressive goals in terms of lowering its impact on the environment as well as its performance against those goals. As a leader in reducing its environmental footprint, IBM has helped governments and other businesses by sharing its approaches through participation in a number of programs and organizations. This has resulted in the company winning the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Climate Leaders Award twice, among many other awards.
    • Tying values to products and initiatives—As IBM pursued projects associated with environmental stewardship, the company began to integrate its design efforts more closely to reflect a concern for its products’ environmental impact. This led to designing products based on their entire lifecycles, beyond end of use to reuse and recycling. As a result of incorporating environmental criteria in its product stewardship efforts, IBM incorporated increasing amounts of recycled materials into its products, designing them for disassembly and reuse, and making them even more energy efficient.
    • Creating products from values—More recently, IBM has embarked on programs that leverage its longstanding experience in environmental stewardship and applies its knowledge and experience to some of the biggest problems facing the world. These initiatives involve overhauling the technology used in utility networks, decreasing pollution resulting from transportation, and, perhaps most importantly, averting a looming international water crisis.
During the early 1990s, IBM underwent a difficult period as markets shifted and the company needed to reinvent itself to compete across a new landscape. However, in 1994, while this transition was underway, then CEO Lou Gerstner asserted, “In the past two years, we in IBM have had to rethink much about the way we do business. In the process, it has become clear that there are certain things that should not change. One of them is our responsibility to run a business mindful of the world in which that business operates. When it comes to the environmental well being of that world, this responsibility takes on added weight for a company such as ours: a multinational organization whose technology represents a powerful engine of change.”

The foundation of environmental stewardship IBM established several decades ago continues to bear fruit. Although the savings have been dramatic, the results are not only from cutting costs. IBM has benefited from employee innovations, in both technology and advanced processes, that have not only improved the company’s revenue and profitability, but also contributed to a less polluted and greener world.

Values-based environmental reporting

Many global business issues, ranging from global climate change to tracking greenhouse gas emissions, which are beginning to be recognized for their broader public and investor interest, have a legacy of being addressed proactively within IBM’s internal operations. However, issues associated with business impacts on the environment are often difficult to navigate. While environmental issues can often be deeply technical, they can also be a lightning rod for public policy as well as public perception. For that reason, IBM has long sought to be ahead of the curve when it comes to environmental issues.

In interviews with Wayne Balta, vice president of corporate environmental affairs and product safety, he noted that “IBM’s outlook in terms of environmental leadership encompasses all business units within the company. This includes how the environment is considered in relation to research, product design, manufacturing, procurement, distribution, and logistics as well as other areas such as health, medical, marketing, and branding.”

The core internal initiative for dealing with environmental issues within IBM is its global environmental management system (EMS). As stated by the International Standards Organization (ISO), a properly implemented environmental management approach can provide assurance that good performance is not an accident. A company’s EMS can identify environmental risks, helping to manage any required resolution.

While most companies certify their EMS on a per-plant basis, IBM was the first company in the world to achieve a single global registration to the ISO 14001 standard when it earned the certification in 1997. IBM’s environmental management system is defined by a set of documents that includes policy directives, instructions, internal regulations, and governmental regulations around the world. The system, maintained on a corporate intranet site, allows access for all IBM employees.



Corporate Policy 139 (summary of current revision)

The primary policy directive issued by IBM is Corporate Policy 139, which establishes the following policy objectives (presented here in an abbreviated format):

    • Provide a safe and healthful workplace.
    • Be an environmentally responsible neighbor.
    • Maintain respect for natural resources.
    • Develop, manufacture, and market products that are safe for their intended use, efficient in their use of energy, protective of the environment, and can be recycled or disposed of safely.
    • Use development and manufacturing processes that do not adversely affect the environment.
    • Ensure the responsible use of energy.
    • Assist in the development of technological solutions to global environmental problems.
    • Meet or exceed all applicable government requirements.
    • Conduct rigorous audits and self-assessments.

Setting targets and promoting transparency

While IBM’s certification of a global EMS is certainly a significant accomplishment, its approach to managing environmental issues goes far beyond a reporting system. Since its first corporate environmental report, the company has not only recorded its performance, but set targets for future achievements. Each site submits an environmental master plan that is then aggregated with plans from other sites for the company’s consolidated evaluation and reporting.

An example of IBM setting corporate targets associated with the environment is its approach to the topics of ozone depletion and global warming. In a 1990 article in IBM’s Think magazine, Mason Southworth wrote that “even more serious has been the growing recognition of two potential threats to the whole Earth: global warming caused by gases that build up in the atmosphere and damage to the ozone layer by other gases that accumulate higher up in the stratosphere.”

When the environmental report was issued, IBM was trying to determine how to deal with its use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were later shown to cause depletion of the ozone layer in the atmosphere. The company set a target to eliminate the use of CFCs by 1993, six years ahead of the deadline set by the U.S. Clean Air Act. In a number of other instances, the company set a high bar and exceeded it. As Mr. Balta noted, “Continuing to raise the bar after our past accomplishments becomes incrementally more difficult, but it’s a challenge we embrace.”

Most recently in the public arena is the issue of global climate change. As a founding member of the EPA’s Climate Leaders program, IBM has long identified addressing climate change issues as an important initiative for the company. “While some assume that cutting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions costs businesses money, we have found just the opposite. Addressing climate change makes business sense,” said Mr. Balta.

He goes on to state that IBM has “saved more than $100M since 1998 by conserving energy. When you consider the significant environmental benefits also achieved, cutting emissions is a win-win proposition. Climate Leaders presents an opportunity for IBM to continue its voluntary efforts to further conserve energy and reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, share best practices, promote cooperation between industry and government, and gain recognized leadership.”

IBM has saved more than $100 million since 1998 by conserving energy.

As far back as 1990, the company was reporting its energy savings, particularly of electricity, in terms of CO2 emissions eliminated. It then translated this to the equivalent number of cars taken off the road.

In terms of performance since that time, IBM has reduced or avoided CO2 emissions by an amount equal to 39.88% versus a baseline of 1990. That accounts for avoiding more than 8.98 million metric tons of CO2 emissions. The company expects to extend this achievement by further reducing CO2 emissions associated with its total energy use 12% by 2012 (against a base year of 2005).

IBM was also a founding member of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), the world’s first voluntary, legally binding, rules-based greenhouse gas emission reduction and trading system. As a result of its longstanding environmental stewardship efforts, IBM is currently a creditor based on its aggressive stance on reducing CO2 emissions.

Pollution prevention with community involvement

Reducing greenhouse gases and CFCs is only one example of IBM’s approach to pollution and emissions. Since 1971 the company had formally established a pollution prevention program focused on reducing hazardous wastes and other pollutants at their sources. Then CEO Thomas Watson noted that, above and beyond vigilant corrective measures, the best way to fight pollution is to stop it before it starts.

Stopping pollution before it starts can also mean holding yourself to a higher standard of measurement. Many years ago, IBM noted that its standards for safe water quality should not only be measured in parts per million (although it would significantly beat these requirements when established by internal and external regulations). The company’s internal rule is to ask sites to base their quality criteria on how the discharge would affect the ecology of the body of water they are using. By framing the discussion in this way, IBM engages more directly with the community involved and considers a broader range of contingencies and local impacts.

Tying values to products and initiatives

IBM was clearly an early leader in implementing environmental initiatives for managing its worldwide business operations. The values that drove environmental stewardship as a foundation for corporate-wide initiatives are also deeply embedded in the way that IBM views product stewardship. A corporate policy from then president Frank T. Cary on September 9, 1974, instructed the following: “I expect each operating unit to cooperate fully in national energy conservation programs, give high priority to conservation of energy, raw materials, and commodities in the design and manufacture of our products and—wherever practicable—develop substitutes for materials in short supply.”

Mr. Cary’s policy directive amplified Mr. Watson’s 1971 memo, where he called for an assessment of the environmental impact of every IBM product and process. By 1991, IBM had established a formalized product stewardship program to address the company’s environmental management of the product development process and the products and services it offers. As a result of implementing this program, product design focused on the following features:

    • Avoiding toxic substances
    • Enabling easy disassembly and reuse
    • Incorporating recyclable plastics or materials with recycled content
    • Improving energy efficiency
There are a number of effects that can be seen from IBM’s integration of environmental concerns with product stewardship, such as improved production methods, manufacturing processes, and equipment. Among the most significant efforts are IBM’s design for environment and design for recycling programs.

Design for environment

Design for environment is a strategy historically employed by companies to probe for potential product hazards during the design phase. According to early work by the EPA, by following this philosophy it was possible for companies to substitute less toxic materials to make a product safer to build as well as use.

In 1984, IBM initiated a program that specifically focused on the environmental impact assessment of all its products. By 1991, IBM developed an online environmental impact assessment system to provide an early review of any proposed product or process. According to then director of integrated safety technology, Diana Bendz, “This effort has focused the attention of IBM design engineers on all aspects of a product’s lifecycle, including packaging, material selection, energy efficiency, and recyclability.”

Early impacts of this program were on the company’s packaging. IBM made the move to standard corrugated boxes and required greater recycled content. In 2000, it established a database to capture the cost savings of its various packaging initiatives. In the last five years, the company has realized over $80M in savings while reducing the environmental impact of its packaging. More recently these design for environment processes and IT tools have enabled IBM to report the compliance status of assemblies or full systems against regulations such as the European Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) requirements.

Design for recycling

In its global operations, IBM was an early leader in solid waste recycling. In 1988, IBM set a goal of recycling 50% of all wood, metal, paper, glass, and plastic from its manufacturing sites by 1992 (by 1990 the worldwide figure was 52%). IBM has since updated its nonhazardous waste recycling goal. Currently, the company's goal is to recycle 67% of the nonhazardous waste generated by locations owned or operated by IBM. In 2005, the last year the data was compiled, IBM recycled 77% of its nonhazardous waste.

Its experience with recycling programs throughout the organization made it easier for design engineers to think about how to embed those same principles into the product development process. In 1991, IBM established the Engineering Center for Environmentally Conscious Products (ECECP) in North Carolina.

As far back as the PS/2 Model 40 in 1991, IBM designed products based on a “design for disassembly” strategy that made manufacturing as well as disassembly much easier through the use of snap technology. At the same time, with the PS/2 E, the company was able to recover plastic covers from end-of-life computers and blend the recaptured plastic to make PS/2 covers with 25% recycled content. By 2006, 28% of all plastic resins procured by IBM contain recycled plastic content.

 “Maintain respect for natural resources by practicing conservation and striving to recycle materials, purchase recycled materials, and use recyclable packaging and other materials.” (from Corporate Policy 139)

Managing product end of life

In response to customer requests, IBM began offering product take-back programs in Europe in 1989. These programs, referred to as the Global Asset Recovery Service (GARS), have grown rapidly, and asset recovery and recycling is now offered to IBM’s commercial customers in 21 countries.

IBM began to publicly report the volumes of product waste it collected and recovered 12 years ago. As of year-end 2005, the amount exceeded 1.3 billion pounds, making IBM the first IT company to exceed the 1 billion pound threshold. When it comes to managing the product waste it collects, IBM places top priority on reuse and recycling. In that regard, IBM has had a goal in place for many years to send no more than 3% of what it processes to landfills. For 2005, IBM sent less than 2% of what it collected to landfills (see Figure 2).



On a global basis, the GARS program receives almost 40,000 machines each week weighing nearly 1.8 million pounds. In 2006, Global Financing sold more than $1.6B in preowned equipment. While IBM is providing an important service that prevents pollution and excess landfill use, the GARS business unit also acts as a profit center. As Mr. Balta noted, “IBM's GARS operation demonstrates the value of integrating environmental considerations into the fabric of our business. It also provides an example of how good environmental management makes good business sense.”

Creating products from values

One of the issues many companies are working to address is how to leverage the strengths of their research labs, brand equity, and organizational core competencies to develop more environmentally targeted products. As the awareness of consumers and businesses increases about topics such as global climate change and environmental stewardship, businesses realize these criteria could set the stage for the firms that will dominate in the 21st century.

“Energy prices will be an issue, as will security concerns and concerns about climate change,” said Mr. Balta. “With our experience, we can help companies understand how good environmental practices make good business sense.” What he and others at IBM also see is their knowledge and experience in environmental stewardship can help the company develop new businesses.

Already IBM has collaborated with its customers on a number of innovative projects. These span all areas of its business, from hardware to industry-specific solutions for various sectors. Consider the following examples:

    • Intelligent oil fields—In an initiative headed by Steve Edwards, Global Lead Chemical and Petroleum, IBM helps companies extract oil efficiently and responsibly by applying advanced analytics and modeling. Once a site is in operation, RFID-enabled networks can provide real-time monitoring of production, supporting the remote management of facilities, plants, and equipment. As an extension of this real-time network, RFID tags are embedded in workers’ identification badges, which can expedite search-and-rescue efforts in emergency situations.
    • Data center energy savings—While IBM has invested in energy efficiency for a wide range of equipment used in data centers, from blade servers to storage systems and virtualization technology, the company has also innovated in other areas that affect the data center. By using robotic thermal mapping, managers can pinpoint hot spots and redesign around them. With a software tool called PowerExecutive, data center managers can begin to take control of their power usage, measuring real-time usage on each piece of PowerExecutive-enabled equipment. They can set power caps to control power usage during peak loads by slowing down fans and blowers, as well as by selecting the best power/performance operating mode to meet the blade or rack power budget.
While these are examples of initiatives that could be expected from a large global company, IBM has reached out over the past year to collaborate with a much broader range of partners, including industry leaders, IBM employees, government officials, and nongovernmental organizations. This outreach has helped IBM define the most important initiatives to address in the future. The foundation for this effort was laid with the publication of the second Global Innovation Outlook. A more detailed plan was established through a mechanism called the Innovation Jam.

The Innovation Jam

Under CEO Sam Palmisano, IBM has held a number of discussions via the Internet dubbed “Jams.” These conversations employ the company’s strategy of extended collaboration. An earlier Jam helped update the focus of the company’s core values. A more recent one uncovered new business opportunities and helped IBM prioritize future efforts.

The Jams are viewed within the company as critical to IBM’s future success, as 50% of its workforce has five or fewer years of tenure with the company. For a globally integrated enterprise to maintain its history as a values-driven company, these Jams represent the way forward for what IBM calls “innovation that matters.”

In fall 2006, the Innovation Jam brought clients, employees, and their families together to collaborate in a worldwide brainstorming session. In two collaborative phases, more than 150,000 people in 104 countries suggested more than 46,000 ideas. After a second phase of interaction, 10 diverse business opportunities were approved for further development.

In November 2006, as a result of the Innovation Jam, Mr. Palmisano announced the top 10 ideas at a town hall event in Beijing. Before a live audience of nearly 2,600 IBM employees, partners, and distinguished guests, he announced that IBM would fund $100M to develop these ideas. 3 of the 10 initiatives have a direct relationship to IBM’s work in terms of environmental stewardship:

    • Intelligent utility networks—Headed by Guido Bartels, IBM’s general manager for the global energy and utilities industry, these efforts are focused on increasing the reliability and manageability of the world’s power grids. The efforts to create a smarter power grid that utilizes real-time monitoring and control as well as load simulation will help increase power availability and reliability. It should a lso help reduce wasteful energy consumption, which will help reduce pollution.
    • Integrated mass transit information systems—Both real-time transportation data management and advanced simulation modeling will be used to develop these systems. IBM has the benefit of leveraging past experiences such as its work with the city of Stockholm in implementing a real-time monitoring system to support a dynamic pricing system for commuter tolls.
    • Big Green Innovations—One of the most exciting programs for IBM is referred to as Big Green Innovations. The group behind this is led by Dr. Sharon Nunes, who has taken on the role of green innovations champion. The broad focus of this group is to apply IBM’s expertise in technology, advanced modeling, materials science, physics, and other areas within the company to emerging environmental opportunities.
Big Green tackles “Big Blue”

While over three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by water, only 1% of it is fresh and accessible. According to a recent United Nations study, water scarcity is a fact of life for over 700 million people around the world. The study goes on to project that this figure could rise to impact three billion people by 2025. Agriculture and industry are equally thirsty for this scarce resource. The world’s biggest problem for the 21st century may not be energy related, but rather the availability of water.

According to Dr. Nunes, one of the major initiatives under the Big Green Innovations program will be advanced water management. This encompasses a broad agenda, from availability to distribution and consumption. IBM’s wide-ranging experience in modeling will be brought to bear in terms of weather prediction, as well as discovering underground aquifers and designing efficient distribution strategies. IBM will also work with other organizations to develop nanotechnology-based water filtration systems and other products to address this challenge.

“This is a world-changing opportunity,” said Dr. Nunes. “We are collaborating with customers that have a global presence to address water-related problems. Together we feel we bring an innovative perspective that reaches across ecosystems to solve problems none of us could have solved individually.”

A real difference for the environment

The results of IBM’s ongoing programs for environmental stewardship are providing quantifiable returns economically as well as environmentally. While employee comments captured by the Innovation Jam recorded the personal passion of IBM employees, it was not a surprise to Wayne Balta. “In the past couple of years, there has been a marked increase in unsolicited calls and e-mails from people wanting to get a job in this organization. I think our employees see that a company like IBM can make a real difference for the environment.”

Perhaps the most encouraging news from IBM is the economic benefit it realizes from its leadership in environmental management. “IBM estimates that, over the past eight years, annual savings from its focus on pollution prevention and design for the environment have exceeded environmental expenses by an average of two to one.” As IBM has done since 1990, the dollar amounts to back up those statements are clearly presented in its most recent sustainability report.

Acronyms and initialisms

CCX—Chicago Climate Exchange

CFC—Chlorofluorocarbons

CO2—Carbon dioxide

ECECP—Engineering Center for Environmentally Conscious Products

EMS—Environmental management system

EPA—Environmental Protection Agency

GARS—Global Asset Recovery Service

ISO—International Standards Organization

RFID—Radio frequency identification

RoHS—Reduction of Hazardous Substances

ROI—Return on investment


© Copyright by AMR Research, Inc.

AMR Research® is a registered trademark of AMR Research, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 AMR Research, Inc. All rights reserved.
(See attached file: AMR_Research_REPORT_20313-Big_Green_IBM_and_the_ROI_of_Environmen.pdf)


The See-Through CEO: Fire the publicist. Go off message. Let all your employees blab and blog. In the new world of radical transparency, the path to business success is clear.

(Thanks Andrea!)

The See-Through CEO
Fire the publicist. Go off message. Let all your employees blab and blog. In the new world of radical transparency, the path to business success is clear.
By Clive Thompson

The Wired 40
Intro
The List
Weigh in on the Wired 40
Trends
The See-Through CEO
Desktop, R.I.P.
2-Way Talk
Merge With Care
Fat Pipes
Green Power
Case Studies
Gimme a B! Gimme an L! Gimme an ...
What We Can Learn From The Office*
Pretend for a second that you're a CEO. Would you reveal your deepest, darkest secrets online? Would you confess that you're an indecisive weakling, that your colleagues are inept, that you're not really sure if you can meet payroll? Sounds crazy, right? After all, Coke doesn't tell Pepsi what's in the formula. Nobody sane strips down naked in front of their peers. But that's exactly what Glenn Kelman did. And he thinks it saved his business.

Last year, Kelman was the newly hired CEO of Redfin, an online brokerage firm that was, as he puts it, "the ugly red-haired child" in the real estate world. Redfin was trying to turn the industry upside down by refunding people two-thirds of the commission that real estate agents normally charge. Customers loved the idea - why the heck did you need to hand over 6 percent of the price of your house, anyway? But agents hated it for destroying their fat margins, so they began blacklisting Redfin, refusing to sell houses to anyone who used the service. Kelman was struggling to close deals for his clients.

His first reaction was to keep the situation quiet and pretend everything was OK. "We were really ashamed that our customers were getting pushed around, so we tried to keep it this dirty little secret," he says. But when months went by without any improvement, he decided to take a different tack.

Kelman set up a Redfin blog and began posting witty screeds about the nasty underbelly of the real estate business. He denounced traditional brokers, accusing them of screwing customers with clubby, closed-door practices. ("If we don't reform ourselves, and take out all the sales baloney, too, people will come to hate real estate agents the way they hate tobacco companies or Big Oil," he wrote.) He publicized Redfin's internal debates, even arguments about the design of its Web site. He mocked himself: One post described how he had sat at a college job fair for hours, waiting in vain for a single student to approach him. ("This was particularly sobering because it meant we had outlosered our neighbor to the right, Ford Motor Company," he wrote.) Meanwhile, in the blog's comments, old-school agents were unleashing hissing attacks on Redfin. Kelman left the critiques ine and lashed right back, in full view of his customers.

His enemies got nervous. All this intestinal spew seemed maso chistic. Worse, it was probably bad for business. Everyone's business.

But customers loved it. More and more signed on to use Redfin, and by the beginning of this year, Kelman and his crew were closing several deals a day. "Instead of discouraging customers, being open about our problems radicalized them," Kelman says. "They rallied and started pulling for us."

Like some crazed convert, he trumpeted his epiphany: "I honestly believe that if Redfin were stripped absolutely bare for all the world to see, naked and humiliated in the sunlight, more people would do business with us." Follow me, he urged.

And many have. Radical forms of transparency are now the norm at startups - and even some Fortune 500 companies. It is a strange and abrupt reversal of corporate values. Not long ago, the only public statements a company ever made were professionally written press releases and the rare, stage-managed speech by the CEO. Now firms spill information in torrents, posting internal memos and strategy goals, letting everyone from the top dog to shop-floor workers blog publicly about what their firm is doing right - and wrong. Jonathan Schwartz, the CEO of Sun Microsystems, dishes company dirt and apologizes to startups he's accidentally screwed. Venture capitalists now demand that CEOs be fluent in blogspeak. In February, after JetBlue trapped passengers for hours in its storm-grounded planes and canceled 1,100 flights, CEO David Neeleman tried to deflect the blast of bad publicity by using YouTube to air his own blunt mea culpa. Microsoft, once a paragon of buttoned-down control, now posts uncensored internal videos - and encourages its engineers to blog freely about their projects (see page 140). The very process of developing ideas, products, and messages is changing - from musing about it in a room with your top people to throwing it out on the Web and asking the global smartmob for a little help. That's how this article was written: I've been blogging about it since I started, and some of the reader input I received is reproduced on these pages.1

The Internet has inverted the social physics of information. Companies used to assume that details about their internal workings were valuable precisely because they were secret. If you were cagey about your plans, you had the upper hand; if you kept your next big idea to yourself, people couldn't steal it. Now, billion- dollar ideas come to CEOs who give them away; corporations that publicize their failings grow stronger. Power comes not from your Rolodex but from how many bloggers link to you - and everyone trembles before search engine rankings. Kelman rewired the system and thinks anyone else could, too. But are we really ready to do all our business in the buff?

"You can't hide anything anymore," Don Tapscott says. Coauthor of The Naked Corporation, a book about corporate transparency, and Wikinomics, Tapscott is explaining a core truth of the see-through age: If you engage in corporate flimflam, people will find out. He ticks off example after example of corporations that have recently been humiliated after being caught trying to conceal stupid blunders. There's Sony, which put a rootkit - a piece of spyware - on music CDs as a secret copy-protection technique, only to wind up in court when bloggers revealed that the code left their computers vulnerable to hacker intrusions. There's Microsoft, this time on the wrong side of the transparent shower curtain, offering to pay people to buff up the company's Wikipedia entry. And Diebold, which insisted its voting machines were unhackable - until a professor posted a video of himself rigging a mock election on them. The video went viral and racked up some 300,000 YouTube views.

Secrecy is dying. It's probably already dead.2 In a world where Eli Lilly's internal drug-development memos, Paris Hilton's phonecam images, Enron's emails, and even the governor of California's private conversations can be instantly forwarded across the planet, trying to hide something illicit - trying to hide anything, really - is an unwise gamble. So many blogs rely on scoops to drive their traffic that muckraking has become a sort of mass global hobby. Radical transparency has even reached the ultrasecretive world of Washington politics: The nonprofit Sunlight Foundation has begun putting zillions of public documents in elegantly searchable online databases, leaving it to interested citizens to connect the dots. One adroit digger recently discovered that former House Speaker Dennis Hastert had earmarked $200 million for a highway to be built near a property he had a stake in. When the property was sold, Hastert made a 500 percent profit on his original investment, provoking a wave of negative coverage.

All of which explains why the cult of transparency has so many high tech converts these days. Transparency is a judo move. Your customers are going to poke around in your business anyway, and your workers are going to blab about internal info - so why not make it work for you by turning everyone into a partner in the process and inviting them to do so?

Take Southwest Airlines, which last spring set up an "online watercooler" - a blog where 30 employees ranging from marketing executives to pilots and ticket agents post weekly entries about their jobs and personal lives. By last summer, the site was so well read that when CEO Gary Kelly posted about the possibility of Southwest adopting assigned seating - ending its first come, first seated policy - more than 600 people swarmed the discussion area to weigh in. (The consensus? "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," says Paula Berg, who runs Southwest's site. "People who fly us all the time already know how to work the system.")

Some of this isn't even about business; it's a cultural shift, a redrawing of the lines between what's private and what's public. A generation has grown up blogging, posting a daily phonecam picture on Flickr and listing its geographic position in real time on Dodgeball and Google Maps. For them, authenticity comes from online exposure. It's hard to trust anyone who doesn't list their dreams and fears on Facebook.

So maybe it's not very surprising that at firms like Zappos.com, the rapidly growing online shoe retailer, CEO Tony Hsieh can experiment with levels of disclosure that most executives would consider freakish. A company-wide wiki lets staff members complain about problems and suggest solutions. Hsieh and other executives work at desks sprinkled among the banks of customer-service phone agents ("Anyone can hear our conversation," Hsieh said when I called). If customers can't find the shoes they want at Zappos, agents are encouraged to point them to other stores. Suppliers are given detailed information about which shoes are selling and how much profit Zappos has made off them. None of this hurts Zappos; on the contrary, Hsieh figures it makes his employees, suppliers, and customers more forgiving of everyday snafus. "The more they know about us, the more they'll like us," he predicts.

Being "liked" sounds awfully touchy-feely - yet it's central to this flowering of glasnost. Today's public has been serially disenchanted by years of corporate scandals and on-the-cheap customer service so inhuman it couldn't pass the Turing test. "I think that most of the rage people feel toward these big institutions, like government or corporations or media, is that they feel they're not listened to, that no one's there," says Shel Israel, coauthor of Naked Conversations. By seeming "basically like a normal human," a company can quickly generate a surge of goodwill. As Redfin's Kelman puts it, "There's a whole class of CEOs who can hardly write an email. But I feel like in this new digital world, there are haves and have-nots, and people who can't write convincingly - they're leaving themselves defenseless. The people who clearly enjoy writing and blogging are like CEOs 2.0 - they have competitive advantage over other CEOs."

The new breed of naked executives also discover that once people are interested in you, they're interested in helping you out - by offering ideas, critiques, and extra brain cycles. Customers become working partners.3 Kelman used to spend valuable work time arguing why the real estate business had to change; now his customers do battle for him, wading into Redfin's online forums to haggle with old-school agents.

When I posted a long entry on my blog describing this story in detail - normally a huge no-no in the competitive magazine business - interesting ideas came pouring across the transom. One reader, a software designer in France, told me he'd recently published the source code of his proprietary programs - and that doing so had increased sales. Clients were more likely to trust his wares, he found, when they knew what was going on beneath the hood.

Others enjoyed ripping apart my new theories. Several pointed out that secrecy can be necessary - CEOs are often required by law to keep mum, and many creative endeavors benefit from being closed: Steve Jobs came up with a terrific iPhone precisely because he acts like an artist and doesn't consult everyone.4 In fact, secrecy is sometimes part of the fun. Who wants to know how this season of 24 is going to end? It's not secrets that are dying, as one reader named gjudd noted, but lies.

Nearly everyone I spoke to had a warning for would-be transparent CEOs: You can't go halfway naked. It's all or nothing. Executives who promise they'll be open have to stay open. The minute they become evasive about troubling news, transparency's implied social compact crumbles.

Jason Goldberg, CEO of the job-finding site Jobster, discovered this the hard way. In December, rumors began swirling that he was planning layoffs. On his blog, Goldberg stoutly denied everything: "Everybody's all a-speculating. A lot of falsehoods are being bandied about." But he was also dropping coy and ominous clues. He posted a list of songs he was listening to, including "And I'm Telling You I'm Not Going" and "Dirty Laundry," and he reminded staff to use up their vacation days.

A week later, he announced that Jobster was - whoops - laying off 40 percent of its staff. Goldberg had to have known all along. Critics savaged him as a hypocrite, and mocking blog entries piled up.5

Goldberg probably hopes that little incident will quietly fade away. But it won't, for one simple reason: When you type "Jason Goldberg" into Google, a link to an International Herald Tribune story detailing the entire debacle appears near the top of the first page of results. Anyone who searches for Goldberg will immediately trip over the biggest faux pas of his career. It has entered, as it were, his permanent record.

Which illustrates an interesting aspect of the Inter net age: Google is not a search engine. Google is a reputation-management system. And that's one of the most powerful reasons so many CEOs have become more transparent: Online, your rep is quantifiable, findable, and totally unavoidable. In other words, radical transparency is a double-edged sword, but once you know the new rules, you can use it to control your image in ways you never could before.

Think about how Google works. When you type in a term, the search engine puts the site with the most links pointing toward it at the top of the list. That means bloggers and discussion boards are extremely powerful in influencing Google's search results, because bloggers and discussion-board posters are promiscuous linkers, constantly pointing to things they love or hate. Google hoovers up those links and makes recommendations based on them. Jason Goldberg may prefer that people didn't read that Herald Tribune story, but it doesn't matter. Tons of bloggers and online writers have decided to link to it, and they have the final word. Companies have watched their biggest screwups quickly migrate to the top of a Google search. When Shel Israel and blogger Jeff Jarvis wrote about wretched treatment by Dell's customer service, their posts were so gleefully linked to that for a while they appeared as the number one and two search results for "Dell."6

"Online is where reputations are made now," says Leslie Gaines Ross, chief reputation strategist - yes, that's her actual title - with the PR firm Weber Shandwick. She regularly speaks to companies that realize a single Google search determines more about how they're perceived than a multimillion-dollar ad campaign. "It used to be that you'd look only at your reputation in newspapers and broadcast media, positive and negative. But now the blogosphere is equally powerful, and it has different rules. Public relations used to be about having stuff taken down, and you can't do that with the Internet."

But here's the interesting paradox: The reputation economy creates an incentive to be more open, not less. Since Internet commentary is inescapable, the only way to influence it is to be part of it. Being transparent, opening up, posting interesting material frequently and often is the only way to amass positive links to yourself and thus to directly influence your Googleable reputation. Putting out more evasion or PR puffery won't work, because people will either ignore it and not link to it - or worse, pick the spin apart and enshrine those criticisms high on your Google list of life.

This is precisely what Richard Edelman realized after his own PR firm landed in hot water. Edelman had long urged his client firms to engage openly and honestly with customers online. But last fall, bloggers exposed the fact that Edelman's firm had been involved in some icky subterfuge: His employees had created a set of "flogs" for Wal-Mart - fake blogs that pretended to be written by genuine, real-life Wal-Mart fans. Angry posts began working their way up to the first page of a Google search on "Edelman." So Edelman himself did the only thing he could do: He apologized on his own blog, apologized some more, and began posting his own responses on blogs that were attacking him. He was wildly promiscuous, personally putting the message out anywhere he could, in what became a largely successful attempt to swamp the Google bots and prevent the critique from metastasizing. "If you're not out there playing, then you're kind of missing your left arm," he says.

Indeed, network algorithms do not favor the cagey or secretive. They favor the prolific, the outgoing, the shameless. In the Reputation Economy, even a healthy, happy company needs to worry about its good name if only six or seven people are talking about (and linking to) it. When that's the case, "a casual reader has only a few opinions to determine what sort of company or person you are," says Peter Hirshberg, chair of the blog search engine Technorati. One bad blog post can kill you. But if you've got hundreds or thousands of sites linking to you and commenting on you, the law of averages takes over, and odds are the opinion will be accurate: The cranks will be outweighed by cooler heads. Again, the Net rewards the transparent.7

In January, bloggers began passing around a story that was disastrous for Southwest Airlines: The company had allegedly refused to let an overweight man with hepatitis C board a flight unless he bought two seats - even though he'd gained weight because of the disease and was traveling to a lifesaving operation. Southwest immediately posted an apology and explanation for the error. It even allowed a link to the negative story and then - in one of those judo moves - managed the torrent of hits and links into a net positive. "People don't want to hear about it in The Wall Street Journal - they want to hear about it on the blog," Southwest's Berg says. Most commenters accepted the apology, and some plunged into a sophisticated discussion of the economics of carrying overweight passengers.

There's no going back, yet many young CEOs worry that they're on a treadmill: Once they've started blogging, they can't stop, and that takes valuable time away from running their businesses. They also worry that all their witty little missives are simply giving critics fuel for later pyres. One new firm, Reputation Defender, last year began offering services to "clean up your tracks" online - by emailing sites and discussion forums that contain unflattering information and asking, nicely, to have it removed. "We do search and destroy," says Michael Fertik, the company's founder.

One can imagine how the twin engines of reputation and transparency will warp every corner of life in years to come, for good and ill. The political culture in Washington might be affected - especially when the first MySpace candidate gains the trust of the electorate by openly posting about every closed-door meeting, importunate lobbyist, and campaign strategy session.8 (The Sunlight Foundation is already encouraging politicians to do this.) Perhaps the first day of your new job, you'll be given a laptop, a keycard - and a public blog you'll be expected to post to 10 times a day. Or maybe one day a firm's reputation will collapse in a matter of hours when a minor gaffe is instantly amplified by a global Google mob. The future could be a brushed-chrome machine made of truth and honesty - or some gothic nightmare in which the whole economy is driven by gossipy high school dynamics. Either way, there's no use trying to resist. You're already naked.

IBM launches first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge

Go ahead and enjoy :-)

Jean-François Barsoum
Gestion de l'innovation :: ThinkPlace :: Master Innovation Catalyst
1360 Boulevard René-Lévesque Ouest, Montréal (Québec) H3G 2W6 Canada
jbarsoum@ca.ibm.com | tel (514) 964-4192 | fax (845) 491-2412

Corporate Responsibility/ Responsabilité sociale : News / Nouvelles | W3 Community / Communauté W3 | W3ki
Alternative Energy / Énergie propre: News / Nouvelles | W3 Community / Communauté W3
Value on TAP : W3 Blog
----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 21/05/2007 21:38 -----

          Kathy Rish-Heins/Raleigh/IBM@IBMUS

          16/05/2007 17:33


To

Diversity groups

cc


Subject

Fw: IBM launches first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge


As the contact for your respective diversity group or professional community within IBM, I'd like to make you aware of an exciting new opportunity.

On May 8th, IBM launched the external version of ThinkPlace on alphaWorks and, as part of that launch, we're running our first public IBM ThinkPlace Challenge for three weeks to collect and refine ideas that can be passed on to the Global Innovation Outlook sessions which begin in June. The GIO sessions will be held in 7-8 different cities around the world over the next 3 months. By May 25th, we're planning to take the number of ideas submitted into ThinkPlace and, using our catalysts community, winnow them down to a managable list of the most viable ideas and submit them to the GIO for their action. Details are provided in the announcement letter attached below. I'm hoping that you will send this out to your communities by whatever communications vehicle that you use.

If you need information other than what is provided here, please let me know. After this challenge is over on May 25, ThinkPlace will remain on alphaWorks for the foreseeable future because it helps us learn more about how people use the tool and will shape any plans we may develop for commercializing this tool; so there will be other external challenges after this GIO challenge is closed.

Thanks!
Kathy Rish-Heins
Market Manager, Innovation Programs
IBM ThinkPlace and BizTech

Office: 919 387-5763 T/L 223-8905
Mobile: 919 454-5281
Email: kathyrh@us.ibm.com

Office hours: Monday - Thursday, 9:30 AM until 4 PM Eastern


----- Forwarded by Kathy Rish-Heins/Raleigh/IBM on 05/16/2007 05:25 PM -----
Aimee S Munsell/Somers/IBM

05/08/2007 12:09 PM

To
Innovation AP, Innovation Europe, Innovation Exec Team, Innovation Extended team, ThinkPlace App Team, ThinkPlace/BizTech team
cc
Subject
IBM launches first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge

Dear Colleagues,

I'm pleased to share with you today's announcement about making available ThinkPlace - IBM's collaborative innovation platform -- to the world. For the first time, the ThinkPlace platform is accessible to external users via IBM's portal for emerging technology, alphaWorks.

I can think of no better use for taking our collaboration engine outside our four walls then to help further our work on improving the local economies in the most under-served regions of the world -- and specifically in Africa.

The first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge is a three-week event designed to foster global collaboration on innovations that can fuel business growth and improve the standard of living on the African continent. The ideas developed in this challenge will immediately shape the agenda for the IBM Global Innovation Outlook/Africa sessions, conducted in person in locations the world beginning in June. The input will also inform IBM's World Development Initiative, a new long-term effort to identify commercial opportunities addressing the needs of the vast population currently living on less than $5 a day.

Everyone who registers on the ibm.com site is eligible to participate in this discussion which will help shape IBM and its partners activities in this emerging markets space. I'm asking for your personal involvement in two ways:

    1. Participate. Join the Thinkplace Challenge and contribute your best thinking as well as respond constructively to suggestions of other participants.
    2. Spread the word. Forward this email to your network of contacts. Use the abstract below to publicize this event on your Web sites, wikis and blogs.



IBM launches first-ever public ThinkPlace Challenge:

How can economic growth create positive change in Africa?


Over three months beginning in June 2007, IBM and its partners will convene more than 150 global thought leaders to identify new opportunities to advance innovation and economic development for the people of Africa. Leaders participating in these special Global Innovation Outlook sessions are committed to surfacing and acting on new frontiers in technology, business and societal advancement for the continent. You have the opportunity to help contribute to this discussion. Participate in the first-ever
IBM ThinkPlace Challenge open to the public and collaborate on this important topic.

<Note the ThinkPlace Challenge URL is :
http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/thinkplace>

With your contributions through platforms such as this ThinkPlace Challenge, we have a great opportunity to affect positive change in some of the most under-served regions of the world. Thank you.


Sincerely,

Aimee

Aimee Stone Munsell
Director
IBM Corporate Innovation Programs
munsell@us.ibm.com
Asst: Kathy Otero (212-376-3265)


Be green and save green, says Big Blue: At an event organized by in Toronto Thursday IBM execs emphasized how deployment of green technologies, particularly in the data centre, can translate into hard dollar savings.


Be green and save green, says Big Blue
By: Joaquim P. Menezes
IT World Canada  (18 May 2007)

COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

Being green can save you a lot of green, is a message Big Blue is promoting heavily these days.

At an event organized by in Toronto Thursday IBM execs emphasized how deployment of green technologies, particularly in the data centre, can translate into hard dollar savings.

Outlining aspects of Big Blue's "energy efficiency initiative", an IBM exec said businesses adopting these strategies are saving as much as 40 per cent of their overall data centre energy costs.

But a pre-requisite is understanding power utilization in data centres, said Steven Sams, IBM vice-president, global site and facilities services.

He noted that IT products per se – severs, storage, telecom equipment and so on – account for just 30 per cent of a data centre's power use. "The remaining 70 per cent is used by the infrastructure that supports that technology."

For instance, he said chillers (or cooling towers) located outside of the data centre suck up as much as 33 per cent of a data centre's energy. "They need all this power just to create the coolant utilized by the air conditioning systems on the floor of the data centre."

Other supplemental systems that use up power include: the computer room air conditioning system, and the uninterrupted power supply equipment (UPS), he said.

"So this isn't just about keeping the chips, servers and storage as efficient as possible. It's about optimizing power usage around all of those other systems as well."

Such efforts are crucial given steep and escalating data-centre energy costs, said Brian Rosenberg, IBM business unit executive, site and facilities services.

He cited a finding by analyst firm IDC that for every dollar of computer hardware, roughly 50 cents is spent on energy. "This is expected to increase to 71 cents over the next four years."

The data centre energy crisis, he said, is inhibiting the growth of many companies.

At the Toronto event Sams described new technologies and services developed by IBM to respond to this "crisis."

"Cool Battery"

This new IBM offering, he said, is aimed at reducing energy consumed by the "chillers" in a typical data centre.

"Chillers use about a third of a data centre's energy and run, on average, at 30 per cent efficiency."

The problem, Sams said, is chillers can't be switched off at any time as the coolant they create is required 24x7 to keep the data centres temperature's constant.

Cool Battery counters this inefficiency, he said.

Essentially, it's a device placed between the chillers and the AC systems, and that "stores cold much like an ice-cube."

You run the chiller tower at maximum efficiency, and then "lock up" the cold in Cool Battery.

Sams said Cool Battery was installed at an IBM location for two years. "In those years we saved 45 per cent of the energy cost of our chiller plant."

Assessment services

Starting Monday, Sams said the IBM site would offer visitors a free "assessment tool" to evaluate the energy efficiency of their data centres.

You respond to a set of 12 paired questions, he said, following which "the tool assesses where you are versus where you would like to be and offers simple steps for you to move forward."

He said Big Blue customers are already experiencing significant cost savings from "energy efficiency" assessments. In a worst case scenario, customers are easily able to save about 15 per cent. Typically, they save around 40 per cent of their overall energy costs.

The IBM executive said an assessment includes four elements:

A comparison – That tells you where you stand on data centre efficiency relative to the marketplace.

A status report – that describes the "energy efficiency" of every facet of your data centre – including the IT component, the chillers, the computer room AC, and the UPS.

Solutions – Recommended actions to improve efficiencies.

Business cases – Sams said when recommendations require a substantial capital outlay (such as replacing an older UPS set with one that's more efficient) users are also provided with business cases that help them prioritize and make their decision.

Other services in this area include consolidation and relocation, he said. "If anyone has more than four data centres there are huge savings available, both on the energy side and on the operational side when you start consolidating those sites."

He said IBM's "energy efficient" initiative is being supported by all the major global providers of data centre technology – including Schneider Electric, Emerson, Liebert, General Electric, E.T.N. and Anxer.

These companies, he said, are also starting to roll out supporting solutions – including technology to improve UPS efficiency, coolant techniques and more.

Practise what you preach: The uneven advice of green-living guides


Practise what you preach

May 21st 2007
From Economist.com

The uneven advice of green-living guides


ONE of the worst things about being an environmental columnist is all the rubbish you get sent. Not only are the various windy press releases and corporate-social-responsibility reports dull; they also engender a feeling of guilt at the thought of the acres of forest and gallons of petrol consumed in their printing and transport. Staff at The Economist are not allowed to accept gifts of any consequence, so anything truly handy that arrives has to be sent back. Meanwhile the silly clutter builds up: swatches of environmentally-friendly fabric, samples of biodegradable packaging, bespoke, branded boxes of recycled tissues and so on.

But little in Green.view's mailbag seems as pointless and wasteful as the various guides to green living that arrive unbidden each week. For one thing, making them and sending them to journalists around the world presumably consumes lots of the precious resources they all bang on about. Some claim to be "carbon neutral" or printed on paper made from "sustainably managed forests" or, in one instance, from "well-managed sources and other sources". Inside, without any sense of irony, they invariably warn against vague but green-sounding labelling designed to dupe credulous consumers.

 

Most of the advice contained in such books is sound, albeit obvious: insulate your house, take public transport where possible, use energy-efficient appliances. Sometimes there are unexpected and interesting tips. "The Rough Guide to Saving Energy and Reducing Your Carbon Footprint", one of the better green-living guides, points out that running a car with the windows down might actually be less environmentally friendly than using the air conditioner, since the drag caused by wind entering the open windows slows the car down and so reduces its fuel efficiency. If only your correspondent's father had known that, childhood holidays would have been much more pleasant.

The problem with that line of reasoning is that it is never-ending. How would the equation change if the car ran on biofuels? Or a 10% biofuel blend? How much energy did the refinery use to make the biofuels? How much fertiliser was used to grow the crops that were turned into the biofuels? For that matter, how much energy was used to build the biofuels refinery and the fertiliser factory? The other day Green.view was grappling with just such an eco-dilemma: were the emissions caused by the wasteful packaging on ready-made food from supermarkets outweighed by the emissions saved by cooking it in big batches in a factory, rather than in individual portions over spluttering gas rings at home? The greatest minds of our generation could spend a lot of time mulling over such questions. Living by their conclusions, on the other hand, would be impossible.

AFP

Moreover, green-living guides tend to conflate energy efficiency with a nebulous left-wing worldview, complete with a soft spot for organic farming and fairtrade products and a suspicion of chemicals and capitalism. "The Virgin Green Guide", for example, explains that "consumerism has run out of control" and harks back to a happier time before the 20th century, when people did not value convenience and were content with limited possessions. The guide suggests that those who can afford it should drink bottled water, because the kind that comes out of the tap is so addled with "toxins"—even though bottling and transporting water consumes lots of energy and produces clouds of pollution. It also tells readers to spend more time with family, watch less television and clean clutter out of the attic, all in the name of the environment.

But most of all, such books are guilty of preaching to the converted. A few die-hard greens might consider cooking their food in straw-lined boxes or installing composting toilets. But the vast majority will simply throw away with disgust any book that suggests such hippyishness—and not necessarily in the recycling bin. The most admirable guides, by contrast, are those that might actually persuade the well-intentioned but lazy minority to take their first faltering green steps. Green.view, for one, recommends www.gogreenlights.co.uk.

Microsoft, Clinton team launch green venture


Microsoft, Clinton team launch green venture
By: Nestor E. Arellano
ITWorldCanada.com  (18 May 2007)

COMMENT ON THIS ARTICLE

An organization backed by former U.S. president Bill Clinton and Microsoft Corp. are collaborating on creating software tools and Web applications aimed at helping cities monitor carbon emissions and develop "green strategies."

Part of the Clinton Foundation's Climate Initiative, the program was unveiled by Clinton at the C40 Large Cities Climate Change Summit in New York Wednesday.

The software products will enable municipalities to create standardized means of measuring their greenhouse gas emissions, a Foundation statement said.

Toronto's environment chief and Canadian IT industry analysts welcomed the announcement, which shortly followed reports that the foundation will also launch a project in the city aimed at retrofitting old buildings to make them more environmentally friendly.

With a common standard, cities would be able to monitor the effectiveness of their carbon-reduction programs, the foundation statement said.

The "greenhouse effect" refers to the process of infrared radiation in the atmosphere warming a planet's surface. Carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and sulfur are considered as major contributors to the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse gases from industry, transportation and agriculture are likely the main cause of recently observed global warming, according to various environmental groups. Urban areas eat up about 75 per cent of the world's energy resources and generate 80 per cent of greenhouse gases.

"This new software tool will be an important tool in our work with cities around the world to fight global warming, in practical, measurable and significant ways," Bruce Lindsey, chief executive, Clinton Foundation, said in a statement.

Lindsey said Microsoft will build the tools using knowledge gathered by ICLEI – Local Government for Sustainability and the Centre for Neighborhood Technology (CNT).

The ICLEI is a Toronto-headquartered international association of local, national and regional governments committed to sustainable development, while CNT is a Chicago-based group that helps urban communities pursue environmentally friendly growth.

Details have not yet been finalized, but the tools will take advantage of Microsoft's SQL Server and incorporate features from SharePoint and Office, according to Lindsey.

The tools will also include applications accessible through an Internet browser, and will be provided to municipalities for free when it becomes available by the end of 2007, "The central challenges for the project will revolve around data consolidation and analysis," said Mauricio Rodriguez., senior analyst, Info-Tech Research Group Inc., in London, Ont.

Rodriguez speculates that Microsoft will dip into its business intelligence (BI) tool kit to develop the new applications.

The ability to instantly share data with other municipalities involved in green projects sounds appealing to Lawson Oates, director of Toronto's environmental office.

"Being able to gather information on trends, compare strategies, and find out how other people are dealing with their emission issues can help in fine tuning our own initiatives," he said.

Lawson said Toronto has been monitoring its carbon emissions since the 1990s – perhaps even earlier – but it is exploring the possibility of developing software that can provide more accurate readings.

He said regular monitoring, reporting, and comparative studies of emissions are important in determining the effectiveness of environmental programs.

When reports are made available to the public, they provide an incentive for behavioural change, Lawson noted.

Currently Toronto produces about 20 million tons a year of carbon gases. That "compares favourably with other large municipalities in Canada and North America," according to Lawson.

A recent city report said at least 1,700 deaths and 6,000 hospitalizations in the city can be attributed to poor air quality.

These numbers are expected to double by 2050. W

idespread deployment of the emissions monitoring tools also benefit Microsoft, says Nauman Haque, research analyst with Info-Tech.

He said Microsoft is currently trying to enter the BI market but is overshadowed by more mature vendors.

"This will provide Microsoft with a highly visible testing ground for it products and provide their BI applications with much needed visibility."