Business has an opportunity to help grow renewable energy and support jobs and communities in regional areas
2 November 2012
Many companies, including Pacific Hydro, are recognising that Information and Communications Technology (ICT), formally known as IT, is an important area of their business where improving sustainability outcomes can not only mean saving energy and reducing costs, but it can also help to reduce landfill, preserve rare earth metals and educate employees on these issues as well.
Pacific Hydro’s companywide sustainability framework covers four pillars; community, environment, workplace and finance, so ICT sustainability is an important element of implementing its framework.
The strategy has seen a fully virtualised server system implemented. This initiative alone has led to energy savings, reduced the purchase, maintenance and disposal of equipment and decreased the footprint of the equipment required in the office which has also reduced air-conditioning needs.
But this is not the only initiative being undertaken. While Pacific Hydro is not a big company who can force manufacturers to change the way they do things, we can use our purchasing power to seek out companies that have sustainability policies in place, have energy efficient appliances and can provide us with details of where they source their materials from. And as much as possible, we purchase locally, reducing carbon miles and supporting manufacturing and jobs in Australia.
An e-waste recycling program has also been implemented which is open to staff contributions. The program reduces landfill to only 5% of the original product volume and has been a great opportunity to educate staff and encourage their involvement. As well as recycling, Pacific Hydro also seeks to re-home equipment where it is in good working order – either with community groups or staff.
But there are some companies, like Google, who have taken even bigger steps. Google has recently pledged to reduce its carbon footprint to zero.
This is an aggressive goal and one to be applauded but it is not easily achieved by one measure alone.
Importantly, Google’s approach is multifaceted and includes energy efficiency, carbon offsets and the purchase of renewable energy to power their data centres.
Purchase of renewable energy is easily accessible - Pacific Hydro purchases 100% Greenpower for its head office - but not all companies are able to do this.
A hybrid mix of renewable electricity and carbon offsets from renewable energy is another option that companies can consider.
And now that Pacific Hydro has become a business retailer, purchasing renewable energy and carbon offsets can be done direct from the source – cutting out the middle man – and enabling companies to have a direct impact on growing renewable energy in Australia, while also supporting jobs and communities in regional areas.
Learn more about Pacific Hydro’s retail offering.