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


Lessons Learned from IBM's Big Green Initiative; New IBM Consulting Offerings Help Clients Be Greener, More Ethical

Lessons Learned from IBM's Big Green Initiative
By David Metcalfe
Published July 2, 2008

How strong is the Green IT wind blowing? In the software industry, the Green IT wind is blowing but not very strongly. Much of the industry still stands on the sidelines of climate change innovation. From industry leaders like Microsoft and SAP down to niche apps vendors, software firms are just now defining their strategies for environmental sustainability, Green IT and climate change. What can software professionals like you learn from your hardware cousins? IBM is a good place to start.

Back in May 2007, Big Blue announced that it would "redirect" spending of $1 billion a year into its Big Green initiative. There were two goals. Firstly, dramatically reduce energy consumption in data centres -- by as much as 42% -- using IBM's five-step IT energy efficiency methodology. Secondly, ensure IBM's energy bills stayed flat despite an anticipated doubling of in-house computing power by 2010. But IBM's Big Green initiative launched into a growing backlash against "greenwash" and unproven demand for energy efficient kit from CIOs. What has become of Big Green?

One Year On Big Green Got Much Bigger

After 12 months of customer dialogue IBM's Big Green initiative expanded from a focus on hardware energy efficiency in the data centre to a consulting-lead offering for corporate energy efficiency and carbon management. This reflected in particular the growing obsession of IT in Europe with carbon emissions due to the European Union's Emissions Trading Scheme as opposed to the US focus on energy costs. The new mission for Big Green is to help reduce the 98% of emissions not generated by IT as well as the 2% generated directly by IT. Through its customer outreach IBM learnt six lessons about the commercialization of Green IT:

1. Exploit IT's information management role.

IBM's handful of Big Green customer engagements, such as its work for the UK Government's 95,000 employee Department For Energy, Food & Rural Affairs, made one thing clear: firms don't have the detailed electricity consumption data they need to implement energy efficiency initiatives. What they have is an energy bill for a facility. IBM has beefed up the power monitoring and management capabilities of Tivoli and struck partnerships with firms like Johnson Controls, Matrikon OPC, Siemens and Synapsense. Tivoli Green Management can now monitor, measure and manage IBM systems, non-IBM IT hardware, data centre infrastructure like UPS and building systems such as HVAC, lighting and security systems.   

2. Hitch Green IT to data centre refurbishment projects.

Energy savings alone don't constitute a business case to overhaul an existing data centre, undertake a refurbishment project or build a new Green Data Centre. IBM seeks to incorporate IT energy efficiency best practices into existing business plans for data centre improvements. Pure energy efficiency projects don't get past CIOs because the CIOs don't have the energy cost data to calculate the ROI. The VP of Facilities has the energy bills but lacks the detail to run an energy efficiency audit. Enter the consultants.    

3. Tackle corporate energy efficiency and emissions.

Big Green started with a vision from the hardware and software folks to slash energy consumption in the data centre. Once IBM's Global Business Services consultants got hold of the idea, they transformed it into a Carbon Management Strategy encompassing employees, information, property, the supply chain, customers and products… not forgetting IT. For the consultants, a strategy discussion and corporate carbon diagnostic are the start point to stimulate demand. Not a cold sell on Green IT.  

4. Differentiate offerings by industry and country.

IBM's push into the market for corporate climate change services has met with varying levels of success by industry and country. Europe, and in particular the UK, focuses on carbon emissions as much as energy costs due to mandatory emissions caps. Even firms in sectors without a mandatory cap like telcos and banks search for emissions cuts to enhance their reputations. The inability to get more power into urban data centres has driven demand for energy efficiency by banks, telcos and outsourcers.

5. Plan for slow customer adoption.

IBM is developing the market for IT energy efficiency and carbon management services. And its very much an early stage market today. There is no indication of a deluge of Big Green projects from the private sector. In IBM's view, the combination of high energy costs, brand management goals, tightening regulations and stakeholder pressure will drive the market. Look to government environmental agencies, large cities with green ambitions and firms with data centres facing power restrictions to adopt first. The second wave of adoption is likely to come from consumer-facing firms driven by industry leaders like Wal-Mart and Tesco.   

6. Prepare for investment barriers to IT energy efficiency.

IBM has helped IT clients with quick fixes offering rapid payback such as adjusting data centre temperature and humidity to reduce energy consumption. But in the current economic environment, persuading firms to invest £100,000 to install variable speed fans with a 6-year payback is much tougher. With the low hanging fruit picked, IBM has found that there is an unwillingness to spend money on planting a new orchard. In particular, very few firms will invest the tens of millions required for a new build data centre that incorporates energy efficiency best practices.

Lessons from Big Green Benefit the Market

IBM's Big Green initiative side-stepped the IT greenwash debate and delivered valuable lessons for the rest of the technology industry. Above all it has clarified the crucial enabling role of energy and emissions information measurement, monitoring and management.  

The primary barrier to the CIO investing in energy efficiency is that he or she rarely has the data on energy costs and possibly doesn't pay the bills. On the flip side, facilities directors and heads of realty pay the energy bills but have no understanding of what drives energy consumption. Faced with zero actionable information, Green IT engagements need to start with energy efficiency assessments and integrated monitoring of energy consumption across IT assets, data centre hardware and facilities services.

A recent Verdantix survey of 50 climate change leaders validates the need to integrate the information management capabilities of IT with the energy consuming features of facilities management. Fifty-two per cent of respondents consider that facilities management is "extremely" important for their climate change initiatives whereas just 16% view the IT department as being "extremely" important.

Software companies that have recently woken up to the market opportunities created by the corporate climate change agenda now have a context for product innovation and marketing: energy and emissions information management and monitoring for IT and facilities. The Green IT wind will start blowing more strongly in 2009.

To access the full report and data on this topic please visit the Verdantix website at

New IBM Consulting Offerings Help Clients Be Greener, More Ethical
Improving Corporate Social Responsibility Can Grow Revenue, Market Share
June 30, 2008: 03:00 PM EST

New IBM (NYSE: IBM) consulting offerings can help clients understand and improve their societal impact -- from carbon management to labor practices -- increasing their competitive position and appeal to consumers and other interested parties.

"Operating a business ethically and environmentally is not only a requirement today, but also an opportunity -- companies that demonstrate they adhere to the highest societal expectations of conduct have a significant advantage in attracting consumers, investors and talent," said George Pohle, IBM vice president and global leader for business strategy consulting. "But in order to do that, companies must be able to accurately assess how well they meet those expectations now, and where and how to make improvements."

The ability to meet these expectations has become critical, as people are watching company behavior more closely than ever on a whole range of issues -- the environment, fair wages and workplace safety, international trade, product safety and reliability, philanthropy, and more. Empowered by the Internet, they are equipped to organize and act quickly to reward or punish brands depending on what they observe -- deciding what to buy, who to work for, where to invest, and how business should be regulated.

IBM's Corporate Social Responsibility Benchmarking Utility helps clients assess:

--  Whether they're currently treating CSR as an expense or an investment;
--  The effectiveness of their environmental policies, labor practices,
   regulatory compliance, corporate values, and other CSR-related activities,
   and where they may have gaps;
--  How well they engage customers and other stakeholders to understand
   their concerns and to communicate CSR performance.

The benchmarking utility is based on data from a survey by IBM of c-level executives at more than 250 companies worldwide. The study, titled "Attaining Sustainable Growth Through Corporate Social Responsibility," shows that 68 percent of the executives surveyed see CSR as an opportunity to grow revenue and 54 percent believe it gives them a competitive advantage.

But the report also shows some significant gaps in how companies are approaching CSR -- more than three quarters of the executives surveyed admitted they don't understand their customers' concerns about CSR, and only 17 percent are even asking them. This indicates that many companies need to analyze and improve their CSR practices to ensure they line up with what customers and other key stakeholders expect.

In another survey conducted by IBM of more than 1,100 CEOs worldwide, the majority of respondents said they plan to increase their investments in CSR activities by 25 percent over the next three years. The key for them is to ensure they are investing in the right programs, policies and practices to meet the expectations of their stakeholders, and that is what these new consulting offerings from IBM are designed to help them do.

Based on what the benchmarking utility reveals about a client, IBM can use its CSR Strategy Assessment and Roadmap offering to help it improve its business processes and operations, address any shortcomings, and integrate CSR into its overall strategies and objectives.

IBM can then assist clients in a range of CSR areas, including:

--  Carbon footprint analysis and management;
--  Environmental procurement;
--  CSR policy development and monitoring for suppliers;
--  "Green" data center;
--  Information sharing and engagement with customers, shareholders,
   regulators and advocacy groups;
--  Linking philanthropy to corporate strategy;
--  Diversity and labor practices;
--  Engagement with employees on CSR.

This is an example of IBM's focus on higher value services and innovative solutions to address client needs.

For more information about IBM's global survey on CSR, go to:

To learn more about IBM's strategy and change offerings, visit:

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Contact Information
Jay Cadmus
IBM Media Relations
(o) 914-766-2326
(c) 203-948-2351


Breaking the Climate Deadlock report


----- Forwarded by Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM on 2008-07-02 13:09 -----

From: "Michael Allegretti" <>
To: Jean-Francois Barsoum/Markham/IBM@IBMCA
Date: 2008-06-27 10:59
Subject: Breaking the Climate Deadlock report

Dear  Jean-Francois,
Tony Blair launches 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock' Report to help G8 Leaders
In Tokyo today, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair launched a high-level report designed to assist world leaders in their efforts to agree a new international climate change treaty.  Entitled Breaking the Climate Deadlock:  A Global Deal for Our Low Carbon Future, the report was presented to Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda to coincide with the upcoming G8 Leaders' Summit at Lake Toyako.
The report represents the first phase of the broader 'Breaking the Climate Deadlock' initiative launched by Tony Blair and The Climate Group in March this year.  The objective of this 18-month project is to help build decisive political support amongst key countries for a new international climate change agreement that will effectively address climate change beyond 2012.
The report, written by a group of recognized climate change experts from across the globe drawn together by The Climate Group, under the direction of Mr Blair,  has three key objectives:
1.        To create a shared vision of what is needed to avoid dangerous climate change and show how this can be achieved without sacrificing countries' growth and development aspirations, in particular those of emerging economies;
2.        To establish the core elements of a global deal that would deliver this vision, in particular to drive the necessary investments in emissions reduction and adaptation;
3.        To provide clear, ambitious but achievable and substantiated asks for the G8 Leaders over the next 18 months, which would help ensure agreement on a new treaty in Copenhagen in December 2009,
The report is supported by a range of expert briefing papers – to be launched in the coming month – that provide detailed background information and analysis on specific issues.
We believe you will find the report an authoritative contribution to international efforts in breaking the climate deadlock and as a valuable guide for moving the world towards a low carbon future.
For a copy of the report, please click on the link below.
Breaking the Climate Deadlock:  A Global Deal for Our Low Carbon Future
For more information on the Breaking the Climate Deadlock initiative, please click the following link.
Breaking the Climate Deadlock website
 Kind regards,
Michael A. Allegretti
Director of Government Relations, North America
The Climate Group
444 Park Avenue South, 2nd Floor
New York, New York 10016
646.233.0557 p
917.270.5167 c
646.233.0558 f