The Environmental Protection Agency has an RFP out for a panel of IT Suppliers. This is great news, I suppose, if you're trying to bump up your street credibility with greenies.
However, don’t make the mistake of pressing ctrl-P for this RFP. I’m sure they’ve hidden some sort of code in there that will instantly eliminate anyone who even thinks about wasting precious trees on printer paper when the whole thing can be done by waving an iPad around the office.
As much as I love the environment I’ve never been comfortable in the company of rampant envronmentalism. When I first saw that little email signature that says “Please consider the environment before printing this document” I assumed it meant that I should be security conscious and look over my shoulder for those ever present loose lips that sink ships. The message of saving trees by not printing an email was totally lost on me.
But that doesn’t mean I’m all for tearing down the forests and destroying the home of lovely orangutans, even if orangutans are funnier in slap-stick comedies than they are dangling from a Sumatran tree.
I’m all for battery cars and have promised to buy one as soon as they make the battery units a swappable item so that we can simply replace them for freshly charged ones at a suitable “filling station” instead of waiting ten hours for a re-charge while the rest of society chugs merrily along the highway. We already do this with our power tools and even LPG bottles so why not cars?
The EPA is responsible for protecting the environment in which we live and breathe and yet oddly missing from the requirements of its panel of IT suppliers is the requirement to demonstrate any real green initiatives.
It’s difficult for resellers to demonstrate such qualities, anyway. There is no claim to sainthood in this business becuse it's point isn't to make a better world, but to make money.
Still, on this side of the chain, IT suppliers don’t have anything to do with tearing down forests or polluting rivers. In fact, the IT revolution has reduced paper consumption by many folds, so to speak. Apart from the IT industry’s shameful toxic mountain of e-waste fuelled by our insatiable appetite for upgrading the perfectly adequate, the IT industry is probably the last industry on the planet to get finger pointed for crapping in its own back yard.
To claim a green and sustainable method of business practice perhaps we need to do more than just install curly light fittings or take of picture of one of our reps beside a Prius and claim the whole is fleet is the same? Or even as one well known company did, claim to be in the ETS scheme just because one of the directors planted a few trees on their rural block of land.
But apart from running an energy-efficient office there’s not much we can do to impress the likes of the ETA. We’re computer people. We can’t save whales, rescue penguins, protest against fracking or live in tree houses for an entire season. This is an agency with a sole purpose to police the very air/water/earth that we live, breathe and drink. A noble cause. So how can we, with our feeble efforts which may or may not include taking our own hessian bags to the supermarket hope to impress these Knights of the Planet? So maybe we shouldn’t try. Because if you can’t, don’t.