Carbon Emissions Trading Delay to Buy CIOs Time

Carbon Emissions Trading Delay to Buy CIOs Time

The Rudd government’s delay of emissions trading scheme buys organisations more time to work out plans for cutting their carbon footprints.

Australian organisations should use the next 24 months to take a serious look at reducing their CO2 reductions, a local carbon emissions trading expert has argued.

Peter Switzer, noted business analyst and author of the book <I>The Carbon Crunch</I>, says the Rudd government’s announcement that it would delay its emissions trading scheme by a year till July 2011 provides a valuable window for organisations to get up to speed on their plans for cutting their carbon footprints.

While some organisations have begun implementing green processes, such a sourcing greener energy, wider recycling programs, and cutting energy use, Switzer claims many are only in the early stages of reducing their CO2 output.

“Most of the top organisations are only in the planning stage (of dealing with carbon emissions trading scheme legislation), so this decision by the federal government has given them a really good breathing space to get their act together,” he says.

Switzer recommends that Australians organisations should survey the most efficient, green IT processes and systems put in place -- particularly by European companies -- as models.

“European companies have been into [green processes] much longer than American companies, and it partly explains why a company like Fiat is now in a strong position to buy American companies, which have ignored the green imperatives coming through,” Switzer says.

Telstra CIO, John McInerney, says given Telstra’s status as a provider of IT infrastructure and network services, its own carbon footprint has been high on the agenda for some time.

“A lot of the issues which are driving our carbon footprint are also the same things that are driving our costs,” he says. “Because [costs and carbon footprints] are so tightly aligned, most CIOs will be talking about how to drive costs down to deliver greater benefits to their organisation, and in doing so, will reduce their carbon footprint.”

Echoing these sentiments, Gartner ANZ vice president Matthew Boon said cost was likely to remain the strongest driver of carbon emissions reduction in most organisations, particularly in areas such as the data centre.

"Improvements in data centres are driven by the business; it has never really been driven by legislation," he says.

Along with the opportunity to cut costs, Switzer says organisations should view the impending carbon emissions legislation as an opportunity.

“In the first instance it is a cost impost, but it will lead to innovations, which will lead to revenue streams, then cost reductions,” he says. “But that is going to take some time to come to fruition.”

With additional reporting from Darren Pauli.

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