How do ICT departments handle sustainability?
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On the occasion of World Environment Day, Byte TI wanted to delve into how ICT departments manage this matter. To this end, he organized a meeting with the participation of Albert Lopez, Solaria’s Head of IT; Guzman Garmendia, general director of telecommunications and digitization of the Government of Navarra; Rare Pillar, CIO and CISO of Grupo La Plana; Jose Manuel Casillas LLYC CIO; Oscar Visuna, commercial director of Acer and Joan Escote, Epson Sustainability Manager.
Alberto López, Head of IT at Solaria, was in charge of opening the meeting and explained how the department’s sustainability area works. Solaria is a company dedicated to the search for land for the deployment of solar panels to generate clean energy that is then sold on the market. As López indicated, “our commitment to sustainability is total and it is one of the pillars on which our strategy is based. We continuously work to diversify the available resources and make them more efficient. In addition, all the energy we consume at the facilities in Portugal, Italy and Spain comes from sustainable sources and, among other things, we are currently replacing our fleet of vehicles and replacing them with hybrid and ECO models. In addition, we promote the circular economy to take advantage of the resources we have and we have a plan to fight against reforestation. When it comes to IT, we are very conscientious when it comes to printing: we always use recycled paper and have a policy of printing only what is essential. In addition, in the infrastructure part, we are betting more and more on the cloud and we are reducing what we have on-premise to reduce CO2 emissions. We bet on payment for use and virtualization to also increase sustainability. In short, sustainability is an essential element for Solaria and represents a very strong commitment for the company’s management”.
For his part, Guzmán Garmendia, general director of telecommunications and digitization of the Government of Navarra, gave the vision of the sustainability of a public administration. As he explained, “our department is in charge of all the ICT sustainability of the entire Government of Navarra. We are very aware of the SDGs because our goal is to work in a cleaner way every time. For this reason, in 2020 we present the Navarra 2030 digital strategy in which there are several actions focused on sustainability. Among others, for example we highlight reaching zero paper consumption or reducing the carbon footprint. And from the technology department we believe that we have to set an example and for this reason, we no longer work with just one piece of paper. We do everything digitally. We have also incorporated a culture of recycling where every year, we recycle hundreds of mobile phones or computers. In addition, we attach great importance to saving electricity costs and we are committed to moving towards the hybrid cloud in which there is an important green component and which we call the Green Cloud”.
What ICT companies provide
Given the importance that companies give to sustainability, the technology sector strives to offer the market innovative solutions in which sustainability is one of the fundamental pieces and that can be used as a sales argument. One of the technology companies that has been committed to sustainability for the longest time is the Japanese Epson. For many years, its R&D departments have been committed to developing sustainable products. An example of this is its PaperLab product, which is the first office paper recycler that converts used paper into new paper through a process that does not use water. As explained by Joan Escoté, Sustainability Manager at Epson, “we have always and for many years been in the top ten positions on the Dow Jones list as one of the most innovative companies in the world. And within this innovation, sustainability is an element that applies to the entire range of products that we present to the market: printers, video projectors, AR glasses,… But we not only aim to produce sustainable products or those that favor sustainability, but that we also have a commitment to responsible behavior: in Europe, for example, we have a CSR department that does not depend on Human Resources or Marketing, but is independent and shows the company’s commitment to improving sustainability processes . We are aligned with the SDGs, which go far beyond being sustainable”.
Sustainability has become one of the pillars on which company strategies are based
Next, Pilar Raro, CIO and CISO of Grupo La Plana, a family industrial group dedicated to the manufacture of cardboard packaging and POS that are used for the manufacture of stands. As Raro explained, “cardboard is one of the most sustainable materials on the market and is also 100% recyclable. With the use of cardboard, more forests are reforested to produce cardboard that is then recycled. Sustainability is therefore part of our DNA. Not only do we want to be sustainable, but we also want our partners and customers to be. Regarding the digital transformation strategy that we are carrying out, as well as the steps we are taking to be an industry 4.0, sustainability is one of the pillars on which we support it. We also have many initiatives such as, for workers, in terms of mobility, we are betting that employees share the car since we do not have public transport to the headquarters. In addition, we have achieved that there is a bico lane to our offices and of course, we have massively incorporated teleworking”.
José Manuel Casillas, CIO of LLYC, explained how the use of technology has changed and how for a few years, sustainability has begun to form part of the strategies of companies and ICT departments. In his opinion, “it is no longer a fashionable word, but rather it is a fundamental part of the operation of any company. ICTs are a sector in which the actions that have been carried out in any field have stood out. Any technology is created to improve something, to make people’s lives easier and now, they play an essential role in making the world more sustainable. At LLYC we have certain policies to promote sustainability, such as the purchase of efficient technological equipment, the donation of computers that may still have a useful life,… in short, making sustainable use of resources. On the social side, we have always been very involved with sustainability through the LLYC foundation, in which many employees volunteer to dedicate hours to projects related to sustainability. Climate change is something that affects us all and we must all do our bit. We are aware of the impact of our activity and we believe that small adjustments can be made, for example, by promoting responsible consumption of water, as well as energy. We are also committed to telecommuting, because we believe that it is an efficient and sustainable way of working. And with regard to the use of technology, we are clearly committed to the use of low-consumption equipment”.
Finally, Óscar Visuña, commercial director of Acer, assured that “it is very important that large companies and Public Administrations become aware of the importance of sustainability, which is an element that is of great importance for a manufacturing company like Acer. We are a company that aspires to be the most sustainable in the sector and for this we carry out different actions. One, for example, is a project called Planeta Mission that covers all the processes from R&D, manufacturing, packaging and sale to the consumer and when that equipment ends its useful life, the product is recycled. Everything we do is linked to the SDGs to alleviate some of the objectives such as energy consumption from renewable sources, reduction of CO2 emissions, reduction of energy consumption and reduction of the use of resources and therefore of waste. In this sense, we introduce parts of plastics and reused materials into our PCs, which we call PCR. Currently, our equipment has 30% of these PCRs and we have the goal that in a few years, these PCRs make up 100% of the components of our computers. Another of the elements in which we pay a lot of attention is the so-called Ocean Glass with which we look for where the mouse of a computer is made 100% with plastic removed from the sea.”
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