Australian Government ICT Sustainability Plan 2010 - 2015

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts, 2010

Section 5. Strengthening agency management systems

5.1 Improving environmental management processes

The objectives of the plan are more likely to be achieved if agencies are able to integrate ICT sustainability activities into core business operations. Strengthening agency environmental management systems is a means to enable this outcome, which will also drive continuous environmental improvement and performance. This requirement is consistent with greening of government initiatives for agencies to develop their own environmental management system (EMS).

The processes underpinning an EMS will also consider those environmental aspects outside of energy and carbon management. These aspects include the disposal of ICT equipment, non-hazardous solid waste, water use, materials, noise, ozone depleting substances, volatile organic compounds and hazardous substances.

An EMS will also highlight issues relating to e-waste requirements under the National Waste Policy, and legal obligations relating to data centre air conditioning cooling towers, refrigerants, fire suppression systems and fuel tank containment.45

More broadly, an agency's internal governance arrangements and policies should be aligned with and reinforce the Government's objectives in relation to this plan and other greening of government initiatives.

ACTION: Agencies are required to conduct an environmental risk assessment to determine significant aspects of their ICT operations to be managed and integrated into the agency's environmental management system.

ACTION: Agencies are required to review their internal governance arrangements and integrate ICT sustainability into internal documentation. This includes documentation for:

  • Chief Executive Instructions (CEIs);
  • internal policies, procedures and guidelines;
  • business plans and decision related documents;
  • tender and sourcing documents;
  • management reporting frameworks, including balanced scorecards;
  • duty statements and performance agreements for staff and contractors; and
  • awareness and education programs.

5.2 Instilling behavioural and cultural change

Raising the level of ICT sustainability awareness and knowledge in government agencies is fundamental to achieving the outcomes of the ICT Sustainability Plan.

To encourage behavioural and cultural change that supports ICT sustainability, agencies will need to develop strategies that raise the general awareness of staff in relation to their use of ICT equipment and consumables. It is important to highlight that various positive daily practices and procedures reduce environmental impacts, improve energy efficiency and help realise the benefits and capability of ICT as an enabler of sustainability. While orientation and induction programs will be used to promote these outcomes, a wider ongoing reinforcement program will also be necessary.

In addition to raising general awareness and positive practices, formal staff training will be required to ensure agency sustainability outcomes. For example, targeted learning and development programs in ICT sustainability (or 'Green ICT') will assist in raising the skills and knowledge of staff responsible for the purchase, deployment and disposal of ICT equipment and consumables.

ACTION: Agencies are required to implement strategies to:

  • raise awareness and promote behavioural change amongst staff and contractors in regard to sustainable ICT, and
  • provide specific training for individuals, in particular procurement and ICT staff.

5.3 Reporting environmental performance (Green ICT Scorecard)

Agencies are required to maintain a Green ICT Scorecard as a management reporting tool to monitor and review ICT environmental performance against key objectives and to assess progress of ICT sustainability initiatives. The scorecard will include performance measures, metrics and targets.

ACTION: Agencies are required to maintain a Green ICT Scorecard to monitor and manage progress against key ICT sustainability strategies and actions.

45 Processes and procedures to establish and maintain an EMS are outlined on the DEWHA website under EMS tools. www.environment.gov.au/sustainability/government/ems/tool.html