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Posts Tagged ‘benchmarking’

Sustainability or Green Reporting

Friday, December 9th, 2011

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Information technology can enable the achievement of sustainability goals on campus in many ways, including by providing sustainability assessment and reporting tools. More than two years ago when students initiated and drove the population of a “sustainability scorecard”  with the purpose of conducting a sustainability assessment and setting the bar, information technology played an insignificant role. The scorecard was presented to management but never published and there has been no subsequent assessment.

Recently, however, the request came to the IT Division to investigate the local market for carbon footprint assessment and reporting tools. A very brief report on sustainability reporting (pdf) was prepared and submitted. It briefly explores the world of sustainability and integrated reporting, considers reporting frameworks and standards (such as the GHG Protocol, Global Reporting Initiative, STARS (a framework for higher education) etc.), and reviews a sample of sustainability management suites and tools.

Finally it recommends that:

…any choice of a sustainability application suite should be delayed until the university’s sustainability strategy has been determined.

… that it is necessary for the university to select and implement a sustainability assessment and reporting framework in order to identify sustainability indicators, help it develop its strategy, assess progress, report to stakeholders and benchmark against similar institutions.

The recommended assessment and reporting framework is the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s (AASHE) Sustainability, Tracking and Rating System (STARS). Stellenbosch University is an international member of AASHE.

Greenpeace’s Green Electronics Survey #3

Friday, January 7th, 2011

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Greenpeace’s latest Green Electronics Survey reveals that 18 companies participated and that there has been a “general improvement in green features” since the 2008 and 2009 surveys. Notebooks, desktops, netbooks, smartphones, mobile phones, monitors and TVs are assessed against the following criteria:

  • The use of hazardous chemical substances (e.g. PVC, BFRs, phthalates, etc.)
  • Power consumption by the products (benchmarked against the Energy Star standard)
  • Product lifecycle (including use of recycled plastic, take-back programmes, etc.)
  • Innovation and marketing (data about the manufacturing footprint, consumer information, etc.).

In desktops, HP Compaq’s 6005 Pro Ultra-slim came out tops while in smartphones the Sony-Ericsson Aspen (M1) beat out Nokia’s N8-00. Once again Apple declined to participate.

View Greenpeace’s “snapshot of results” or download the full report (pdf).

One wonders how many buying decisions are influenced by such a survey….?

Benchmarking Sustainable IT at universities

Friday, October 15th, 2010

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Our peers in Australia (CAUDIT) have progressed much further with benchmarking between universities – including benchmarking on the sustainable IT or “green IT” front. South Africa’s equivalent HE IT association, ASAUDIT, has largely adopted CAUDIT’s benchmarking metrics. The Green IT benchmarking metrics are discussed briefly below.

(more…)