Is your organization’s sustainable IT strategy helping you achieve the outcomes you want? Maybe you’ve just started working with sustainable IT or don’t have any strategy at all! Either way, a structured plan with measurable goals is essential in helping you reach your sustainability targets with the help of IT.

For example, many public sector entities have published Green IT strategies, but in many cases they are not implemented in a way that can lead to the desired environmental or sustainability outcomes. This trend is also beginning to show up in the private sector, as companies work to translate their declared sustainable IT commitment into measurable action and results.

Strategies also need to progress from “GreenIT” to “Sustainable IT”. This shift involves adding social aspects to environmental issues such as reduction of energy consumption and hazardous substance content. Sustainable IT therefore also takes into account socially responsible manufacturing of the IT products you buy and use-phase issues such as usability and the organization’s IT environment as a whole.

A clearly defined sustainable IT strategy – including a commitment from management and measurable targets – can help any organization reach social, economic and environmental goals.

Measurable Goals = Measurable results

Measurable goals and continual monitoring and follow up are essential for a sustainable IT strategy to be successful. Other areas to focus on are; Using our IT systems and products in such a way as to make the organization as a whole more sustainable, and making sure that the IT products we buy meet strict demands for environmental and social responsibility

This holistic approach to sustainable IT – including measurable goals, follow up and management engagement – is important for organizations wanting to realize potential sustainability benefits.

Examples of measurable goals
  • By 2017 at least 50% of all IT products purchased should carry a third party sustainability certification with the goal of reducing negative environmental and social effects during the product manufacture, use and end of life.
  • Reduce your organization’s CO2 emissions by 25% before 2017 by using mass transport, route optimization and effective facilities management.
  • Reduce the organization’s environmental impact by making 75% of all information flow in the organization digital by 2017.
  • At least 50% of IT systems in the organization are optimized for user comfort and performance.

Checklist for a Successful Sustainable IT strategy

  • The strategy takes environmental and social aspects of IT into account.
  • Engagement by top management – management sets goals and conducts follow up.
  • Strategy must be implemented throughout the organization
  • Measurable goals – must be connected to organization’s overall sustainability targets and monitored regularly.
  • Strategy should include an action plan with clear goals and regular follow up
  • Structure – strategy should be based on a sustainability management system or other structured platform.
  • Strategy should include three aspects of sustainable IT: Using IT to help the organization reach better overall sustainability, making your IT infrastructure more sustainable, choosing IT products that meet strict life cycle environmental and social responsibility criteria.
  • Ongoing revisions – update the strategy regularly, in line with the rapid changes in technology.