Sustainability: the Government needs to get its own house in order first
Published 16:08, 10 March 09
Why will businesses reduce carbon emissions? Because the government says so.
Sounds like a really bad Christmas cracker joke, but when asked few people can think of any other compelling reason.
Sure being ‘green’ can be a good marketing tool, and these top notch recruits, who won’t join a company without a sustainable policy, may even exist. But unless there is a good business reason for sustainability management, most companies are likely to only pay it lip service.
So extensive legislation is inevitable if we really want to reduce CO2, reduce waste, and reduce water consumption. Which is what George Jolesz, a lead consultant with IBM Global Business Services,reckons as well.
“Look at the difference the landfill tax made in getting businesses to recycle.” IBM has just introduced what it says is the first consulting service “designed to help government organisations analyse energy and water use, assess waste management, evaluate overall environmental impact and develop improvement strategies.”
Actually the IBM Public Sector Energy and Environment Diagnostic is not a brand new product, but a variant of an existing offering developed for the private sector. Which makes sense as IBM has been doing this sort of consulting work for a while now.
It has developed quite a range of ‘green’ products including the CSR Assessment and Benchmarking Utility, the Carbon Tradeoff Modeler, Green Sigma, Environmental Product Lifecycle Management, the Supply Chain Network Optimisation Workbench (or SNOW) and Strategic Carbon Management.
IBM targeting this particular market though is perhaps an indication we’re in for a lot more pressure from the government in the future. The software and services giant wouldn’t be bothering if it wasn’t sure there’d be a market to sell into.
As Jolesz points out “Good intentions and goodwill are drivers for change but the strongest motivator is going to be robust legislation. And if that’s going to happen, it is clear to us that the government has to get its own house in order.”
The thing is though, legislation as a primary driver is actually pretty weak at the moment. With all the headline grabbing coverage of the Climate Change Act and the Carbon Reduction Commitment bill, we’re overlooking a couple of crucial points – the CRC will only affect around 6,000 organisations and there’s very little else in the Climate Change Act targeting businesses.