The city of Malmö, Sweden is on a mission to reduce it’s impact on the environment. So much so, that the city recently established an organization to work exclusively with green and sustainable IT efforts. Malmö is also a signatory of the Green Digital Charter – a declaration among cities in Europe to work together in meeting EU climate objectives through sustainable use of IT.

Malmö is also aiming to be Sweden’s most climate smart city by 2020 specifically by implementing an IT infrastructure that reduces the environmental impact of technology and also city operations as a whole.

Local MP Lari Pitkä-Kangas comments: “We need more municipalities to develop IT environments that strengthen community efforts in environment, climate and ethical commerce. My advice is to allow an independent third party to evaluate the existing IT environment – a Green IT Audit. Local entities can then base a sustainable IT strategy based on the results. “

Placing the rights demands on the IT environmental is an important aspect of any city’s sustainability efforts. A risk analysis carried out by Malmö shows that that purchasing IT products carries a clear risk of human rights violations. At the same time IT represents a significant cost, so public sector buyers are able to leverage their buying power by placing sustainability demands on their IT vendors. In this way the City of Malmö implements a sustainable IT strategy both in purchasing and at the operational level.

Maria Sjölund, Market Developer at TCO Development stresses the importance of choosing IT products that are made under socially responsible manufacturing conditions. “Awareness of unacceptable working conditions in IT manufacturing is increasing and the City of Malmö is a great example of how a purchaser can enter into that dialog with their vendors and other stakeholders. Initiatives like this are critical for advancing sustainable development in the IT space.”

A vendor-purchaser dialog gives manufacturers better advance knowledge about buyer preferences and increases transparency. Examples like the City of Malmö can also be a positive example to other organizations and motivate them to also prioritize environmental and social responsibility aspects in their IT strategy.

“The success factors for Malmös work in sustainable IT is taking a holistic approach and also making sure that we have buy-in from all stakeholders”, adds Per-Arne Nilsson, Director of the Department for sustainability and climate.