Lean and Green: Doing more with less is what sustainability is all about

Lean and Green:

Doing more with less is what sustainability is all about

In the article Harnessing Green IT: Principles and Practices, [the author describes the]four paths along which he believes the environmental effects of computing should be addressed: Green use, green disposal, green design, and green manufacturing. Green computing can also develop solutions that offer benefits by “aligning all IT processes and practices with the core principles of sustainability, which are to reduce, reuse, and recycle; and finding innovative ways to use IT in business processes to deliver sustainability benefits across the enterprise and beyond”. excerpt From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Combining Resources For Less Environmental Impact

Cloud computing services combine computing resources in the data center, increasing the processing power for users while using less equipment for the task. And most cloud solutions promote the use of “thin” clients and mobile device technologies, reducing the equipment requirements for subscribers. Less equipment means less heat generated and less power consumed.

Cloud computing promotes the concept of working from anywhere at any time. Remote and mobile capability and virtualized systems often means less travel is required to bring users together, saving fuel as well as time.

Cloud computing promote paperless (or “less paper”) systems, encouraging users to view documents on screen rather than in print. This saves power, printer consumables, and paper.

But Wait!  There’s more

All of the above is true, but there’s a lot more to cloud computing than “anytime, anywhere” access to information, combining computing resources and using less paper.  Under it all, it’s the framework, and the connected systems, and the ability to understand more about how your business is performing NOW so that you can made adjustments that really matter NOW. The trend is to try to do more with less, to create sustainability in systems, and to be more efficient and competitive in the global market by building up instead of building out.

Art Hicks Jr., CFO and chief operating officer of exercise-equipment manufacturer Cybex International. “[…] quite honestly, we get paid to run a successful business, and environmental issues have become bigger business issues in the past few years.”

A recent article by Alix Stuart on CFO.com describes the various green initiatives of businesses who are finding that environmental concerns and sustainability are closely tied with long-term business success.  With sustainability and environmentally responsible business becoming of greater concern to the public, corporate accounting and finance professionals now recognize that attention in these areas is not only necessary to compete, but can deliver a startling variety of business benefits not previously realized.

Steve Starbuck, leader of E&Y’s climate change and sustainability services for the Americas, [says that] tax incentives “can make a very significant difference to payback models, so it’s important that the CFO make the connection between tax and sustainability”.

It’s also not just about leveraging incentive programs for using environmentally friendly materials or reducing hazardous material output.  It’s about closely analyzing the information that’s often buried in the accounting system to understand the true utilization of resources involved in the production of the business product.

 “a lot of the information comes out of the accounting record,” Starbuck notes. For example, measuring greenhouse-gas emissions likely entails looking at the amount of electricity purchased, while other metrics might draw on data about how much water was used or the amount of employee travel.”

Kurt Kuehn, CFO of the $53 billion shipping and logistics giant UPS, [says] we did have a rigorous metrics and analysis environment, including a lot of activity-based costing. So we took one of those models, and instead of creating an output of cost, we created an output of carbon. For me, it was an ‘Aha!’ moment.”

With “green” information in hand, and with a view towards improved efficiencies and sustainability, accounting and finance executives are playing essential roles in the areas of management of capital expenditures, sustainability reporting, and investor relations. Supporting it all are the process support solutions with real time data collection and integration which allow the enterprise “system” to be viewed in its entirety rather than in parts.  Accounting and finance professionals are learning new ways to look at the data describing these systems, and to find the secrets of improved business performance, agility, and efficiency hidden therein.