New Year New Leaf

Green leaf The YPG held their first green IT event on January 28 at Southampton Street. 'New Year New Leaf' was an opportunity for YPG members to hear from expert speakers from the government, public and private sectors. Michelle Hazelton reports.

Watch video highlights of the event

The aim of the evening was to address the top issues surrounding green IT with presentations from the speakers followed by a question and answer session. This event was put on as a result of requests from YPG members for events on hot topics in addition to the soft skills event series currently running, namely skill centres. 

The experts

Our five expert speakers brought with them a wealth of knowledge from vastly different backgrounds. Firstly we heard from Adam Clamp who has been working in IT for the last 15 years. In 2007 he founded 'The Green IT Company' and has since been offering environmentally sound IT solutions to his clients.

Adam Clamp Adam is a keen environmentalist and advocate of sustainable computing, and in his presentation he addressed the issues surrounding environmentally focused IT and the need for consumer influence to drive change in the IT sector. 

Adam demonstrated the need for change in the form of the facts and statistics of today's consumer society and asked that we all think about the necessity (or otherwise) of purchasing new equipment, the life cycle of producing that equipment and the waste which is produced in doing so, including the disposal. Adam feels behavioural change is a key aspect of Greener computing.

Our research expert Euan Davis, from Forrester, specialises in sourcing, off-shoring and multi sourcing and is now recognised as the green IT expert for Europe by Forrester. Euan discussed what has been happening in green IT throughout 2008 and how he believes it will evolve over the coming years. 

He touched on the effects the recession is having on green IT and how companies are focusing their minds on the basics 'cost'. Euan believes the revival of green IT strategising will occur when legislation is put into place by government.

Euan also talked about his recent research into carbon transformation, which includes analysing a business's value chain as well as its outsourcing value chain. Euan believes that vendors, businesses and government need to work together to bring about change.

Five expert speakers Speaking to us about Government initiatives was Bob Crooks, head of business relationship management for DEFRA. Bob is leading the green ICT programme for DEFRA and its executive agencies, which are seeking to reduce DEFRA's IT carbon footprint by evolving their working practices.

Bob described how they are looking to make better use of their equipment and to extend its life where possible. Other areas DEFRA are focusing on are energy and travel reduction with schemes such as 'Access anytime, anywhere' for more flexible working for staff wanting to work from home and to reduce the need to travel to meetings. 

Bob outlined the future target as carbon neutrality for all ICT across all estates by 2012 including all outsourced IT. Bob is also directly involved in the development of PAS 2050, the publically available specification (PAS) for the measurement of the embodied greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) of products and services across their life cycle. 

He has also recently launched the BCS Green IT Specialist Group, which is set to be a leading focus group for the BCS Membership including the implementation of best practice and guidelines.

Yosuke Von Heyden shared with us the successes of the implementation of green strategies within Transport for London (TfL). Yosuke joined TfL on their information management graduate scheme after graduating from King's College London and Imperial College London. He has since moved into a strategy role specialising in green IT. 

Yosuke described how the successful reduction of carbon emissions has been achieved at TfL by responsible and ethical procurement, waste reduction, power consumption monitoring through the installation of thin client technology, and data centre virtualisation and consolidation. 

They are looking to reduce their overall energy consumption by 53 per cent by 2010. Yosuke believes this will be achieved by addressing three key areas: the overall carbon foot; equipment lifecycle; and behavioural change. 

Our final speaker was hardware specialist James Petrini. James graduated from Oxford Brookes University 1992 with an engineering degree. He has since worked for The Environment Agency and for Sun Microsystems UK as an IT engineer. James is currently director of Greenshift Limited, a Sun Microsystems Partner specialising in ultra thin clients. 

During James' presentation he discussed the main benefits of Sun Microsystem's ultra thin clients: the manageability; the environmental benefits; security; and value of the product.  James also offered an insight into different solutions available and how they could fit into a particular organisation's setup to help reduce energy consumption.

The Q & A session

After hearing from the speakers the floor was opened up for questions. We had some interesting discussion around third sector organisations, advice for small to medium sized businesses on how they can begin to reduce their impact, and what individuals can do within an organisation to help reduce their overall impact on the environment.

Networking

The post-event networking was well attended and all the speakers were available to answer questions. The atmosphere was jolly and everyone enjoyed themselves. In the future the YPG are looking to aid the networking sessions by providing additional information to attendees about one another, for instance job titles and / or organisations. This will help to maximise the networking time by enabling them to seek out the people they would most like to talk to.

To conclude

Feedback from the members and speakers was excellent. The general feeling from members was that they had gained a great insight to the developing field of green IT. It has also been good to learn that not only have people gained an insight into green IT but they also feel it has influenced their thoughts and decision making since the event, especially when it comes to daily working practices. 

The event highlights will be available soon on YPG.tv on the YPG pages, along with some of the speakers' slides. Look out for more exciting cutting edge events in the future brought to you by the YPG.

Want to get involved?

You can start by coming along to a YPG event, whether it's in your local area or at the London offices. We've also got a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, so get in touch.

Watch video highlights of the event

February 2009