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The Australian Technology Industry Cannot Save the World Alone

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) believes that the technology industry cannot forge ahead alone in making a transition towards a low carbon economy. At a media roundtable for the launch of the AIIA Sustainable Futures Forum, the AIIA called on businesses, consumers and the government to take action to support the industry as it moves towards a more sustainable pathway in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.
  • 10 September, 2008 14:00

<p>Canberra, AUSTRALIA – 10 September 2008 - The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) believes that the technology industry cannot forge ahead alone in making a transition towards a low carbon economy. At a media roundtable for the launch of the AIIA Sustainable Futures Forum, the AIIA called on businesses, consumers and the government to take action to support the industry as it moves towards a more sustainable pathway in an attempt to reduce its carbon footprint.</p>
<p>Speakers at the roundtable included Ian Birks, CEO of AIIA, Bob Hayward, Director of KPMG, Peter Sharpe, Manager – Sustainable Sourcing of ANZ and Tony Hawthorne, Global Procurement Manager – Sustainability &amp; Risk, Foster’s Group. They reiterated the crucial roles of each stakeholder in helping Australia’s technology industry become more sustainable.</p>
<p>Ian Birks, CEO of AIIA said, “Information and communications technologies have the power to change the course of the world’s carbon footprint. High speed internet access and teleconferencing have already reduced the need for business travel. With the implementation of carbon reporting, companies will be relying on software solutions to track and report on their emissions. While these technologies are examples on how the ICT industry can help companies reduce their carbon footprint, technology alone cannot reduce Australia’s carbon footprint.”</p>
<p>Some of the key outcomes from the media roundtable included:</p>
<p>The need for transformational change in business with a complete redesign of companies’ value chains. This may require a merger of operational technologies with information technologies.
Businesses that want to reduce their carbon footprint will need to adopt sustainable procurement practices. Having a sustainability code of practice and sourcing framework will demonstrate an organisation’s commitment towards sustainability.
Companies will have to go beyond evaluating suppliers purely on cost and capability and should include social and environmental practices when making procurement decisions. They will need to benchmark the social and environmental practices of their suppliers and work with them to help improve their performance in these areas.
There is a need for a standard global approach to measure energy efficiency and a selective approach towards the adoption of voluntary and mandatory requirements for ecolabelling.
The Federal Government needs to commit to a national e-waste collection and recycling program. It should work with the industry to develop a co-regulatory framework for participation by all states and territories, along with the entire IT industry. The program should be easily accessible by consumers and there should be no “free riders”.
Consumers need to raise the pressure on IT vendors to improve their processes and demand products that have a lower impact on the environment.
There is a need for the government to work with industry to deliver consumer education programs on energy efficiency and sustainability issues.
Bob Hayward, Director, Risk Advisory Services of KPMG said, “Vendors and ICT professionals both have a role to play in helping the ICT industry change their processes to reduce carbon emissions. The ICT industry needs to lift its game. It needs to continue to make fundamental changes to processes such as the design of products, sourcing of materials and the transportation and distribution of goods in order to reduce the ICT industry carbon footprint. ICT professionals also need to revise their procurement policies to consider the environmental credentials of their IT suppliers and the life-cycle environmental footprint of products and services they consume.”</p>
<p>The Sustainable Futures Forum will be held on October 7 at the Sofitel Melbourne and speakers will discuss the impact of emissions trading on the ICT industry. Key panel discussions include Financial Preparation and Reporting – Preparing for the Carbon Future and Responsible and Sustainable Procurement. Industry case studies will also be presented by Intel, Lenovo, Lexmark, IBM, the Federal Government and Telstra. An educational workshop will be held in conjunction with Box Hill TAFE to address the basic issues of green ICT and career opportunities in the sustainability industry.</p>
<p>For further information, visit www.aiiaconference.com.au.</p>
<p>- ENDS -</p>
<p>Interview opportunities are available with conference speakers. For further information, please contact:</p>
<p>Gabriel Wong</p>
<p>Max Australia</p>
<p>Phone: (02) 9954 3492</p>
<p>gabriel.wong@maxaustralia.com.au</p>
<p>About AIIA</p>
<p>The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is the nation’s peak industry body for the technology sector. AIIA sets the strategic direction of the industry, influences public policy and provides members with productivity tools, advisory services and market intelligence to accelerate their business growth. AIIA member companies employ 100,000 Australians, generate combined annual revenues of more than $40 billion and export more than $2 billion in goods and services each year.</p>

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