Green IT: a Recourse to Save the Planet?

The second edition of the event, held on 21 October 2010, brought together different stakeholders of Green IT (experts, publishers, integrators, professional users and local communities) around the central theme of software applied to issues of sustainable development.

The place of software

Software can be a valuable tool for achieving integration of constraints linked to sustainable development and for the evolution of international regulations: reporting, data collection at a reasonable cost. They can also make up for the lack of in-house skills. Without tools, it is difficult to industrialize a process. For publishers, the specificity of these software projects is that they require a computer skills and "trade" skills (to which we can link sustainable development skills). For corporations, the choice of the publisher is guided by a problematic of software integration with the overall strategy of the corporation and its scheme of internal operations.

CO2 emissions

The market of tools for monitoring carbon emission has a bright future: it weighed USD380 million in 2009 and a totaled annual growth of 40% is expected to be reached by 2017, which will it reach USD3 billions. If communities have a duty to set an example in this regard, corporations need to turn their development and its constraints toward tools and marketing to green as "green" is becoming a dominant purchasing criterion for consumers.

Faced with this challenge, businesses and institutions are looking for suitable software tools. For publishers, the task is manifold, because they must develop programs capable of adapting to the size and contexts of companies. They must also be on standby to respond to the ongoing technological, regulatory, and industrial developments and find a place within the existing, multiple, polymorphic offer: Extended ERP (ERP), Software as a Service (SaaS), etc.

Accountable purchase

2durable1.jpgDespite the different eco-labels, the multiplication of sub-contractors and suppliers in the computer industry, it remains very difficult to fully understand the latter’s practices in the matter of sustainable development. It is thus difficult to find tools that can match the social and underlying societal issues at stake.

How can consumers be insured a "sustainable" quality of corporate products throughout the chain? The most adapted software must integrate data (at times sensitive) and possess indicators of performance (energy, economic, social and societal). Users accustomed to receiving information in real time, must have faster, more reliable and more ergonomic tools which take into account the risk and environmental performance and are able to anticipate their needs. The task is protean with some publishers who are providing a database evaluating thousands of corporations in their sustainable development context. Others are building their own database of suppliers.

How can the impact of the strategy for sustainable business development be assessed? We are in the early stages of controlling the strategy for sustainable development. Indeed, computers can produce value-added information from raw data, part of which is already present in the IT systems of the corporations.

But who should lead this strategy? Softwares such as ERP, are consistent with the logic of harmonization and rationalization of data (often multiple, scattered in different systems, especially in large groups). They can produce quantitative as well as qualitative information, managing both short-and long-term issues by bringing them together and harmonizing the collision of human and financial resources.