The Australia Institute of Management (AIM) recently conducted a survey of 250 CEOs, senior managers and business owners and found 80% of all respondents had only some or little knowledge of the Australian Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), coming into effect in 2010.
Interestingly nearly two thirds of those interviewed felt ETS was justified and 50% believed the introduction of this policy would impact their business operations, mainly through reporting requirements.
And that is where IT plays a role - measurement and reporting is becoming one of the increasingly important functions of an IT department - and gradually over the next few years Australian IT departments should expect an increase in various business departments requesting the ability to report on environmental factors such as measuring energy consumption (across the organisation - not just in the data centre) and end-to-end business issues such as calculated carbon emissions.
And with this knowledge what will IT do with it? It poses an interesting question as IT has the opportunity to either take a proactive stance, or adopt a reactive role to which they respond when the CEO tells them they need to implement some form of monitoring system 'within the next 3 months' to comply with legislation they have just found out about. This approach causes all manner of issues in itself. However it is inherently difficult for IT to take time out to perform a proactive business role when they have the pressures of "business-as-usual" (BAU) - data centre moves, operating system upgrades, 4-year hardware refreshes, 3-year database refreshes & migrations, ongoing asset managemement issues, and the continuous 'nitty gritty', everyday struggles to manage IT resources appropriately across BAU tasks, let alone major projects. And all with decreasing budgets but with an increasing requirement to "digitise" everything in organisations.
There is no magic answer, but some organisations are achieving minor wins (although "major" in their perspective) by incorporating an IT innovation fund into their annual budgets - allowing them the flexibility to explore new technologies and business needs without the immediate pressure of implementation. This holds hope to decreasing the continuous number if IT "Projects" that fail each year - planning and foresight are two of the greatest assets IT can have to help a business become successful. Hopefully CEOs will realise this is a requirement, not a luxury to achieving strategic goals, and from a Green IT perspective, ensuring the business complies with the increase in regulation and legislation in the environmental space over the next few years.
AIM 2008, The Introduction of Australia's Emissions Trading Scheme - Level of understanding amongst CEOs/Senior Executives.