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Case study: When service providers and users share the same objective

Swisscom is committed to sustainable development. It has an environmental management system certified ISO 14001 since 1998 and was even one of the first telecommunications companies to introduce such a system worldwide. Swisscom’s environmental strategy is threefold: corporate ecology, environment-friendly products and external partnerships. Using this strategy, Swisscom intends to improve its energy efficiency by 20% by the year 2015, as well as to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 60% relative to 1990 – the official base year.

Since the beginning of 2010, all of Swisscom’s electricity consumption comes from local renewable energy and it is one of the major consumers of wind and solar power in Switzerland. Its strategy includes the promotion of services such as video conferencing, telepresence, mobile work places  and IT outsourcing services that enable customers to increase their energy efficiency while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Ecology: part of Swisscom’s DNA

Within that framework, and  as one of the most important IT service providers in Switzerland, Swisscom IT Services integrates the ecological aspect into its procedures with an approach based on a product’s life cycle. Preference is given to hardware suppliers which develop their products in a sustainable and environment-friendly way and to  equipment whose operation is energy-saving. The environment-friendly disposal of equipment at end of life cycle is ensured by well-defined channels.

Particular attention is paid to energy efficiency of data centres. For instance, the energy efficiency goals at the data centre in Zollikofen (canton of Berne) have already  been reached after only a year-and-a-half’s operation. Energy efficiency was a priority while planning and building the centre. Thanks to optimised free cooling system, energy needs for  cooling account for less than 20% of its energy consumption, against 35% or more in conventional data centres. Thus, compared with a conventional data centre, Swisscom IT Services is currently saving 4,300,00 kWh per year with its modern infrastructure – equivalent to the electricity consumption of 800 homes. The company received  the Cisco’s 2009 special « Green Award » for this particular data centre.

Through the purchase of 100% renewable power, CO2 emissions by Swisscom IT Services data centres are lower than the European average by a factor of 30. With the virtualisation of platforms, servers are used more efficiently, thus enabling huge  energy savings while same preserving performance and quality of service. Finally, new solutions to enhance data centres energy efficiency are being investigated by Swisscom’s Innovation Competence Centre.

According to studies, the information and communication technologies (ICT) sector enables to reduce CO2 emissions five time more than it generates though energy-saving services and devices, as well as by reducing business trips. One of Swisscom’s objectives is to help customers  for reducing trips and energy consumption. For that, Swisscom offers its Green ICT Check, which calculates the potential energy savings for each customer. Through its green ICT consulting offer, Swisscom then develops together with the customer an appropriate solution. Finally, energy saving is measured systematically and confirmed by an annual certificate.

Environmental responsibility at BCF

BCF took its first concrete steps in sustainable development back in 2004 following the purchase of electricity shares of Naturemade. Naturemade shares stand now at 50% of the BCF consumption. Since 2004, BCF has also extended its environmental preservation measures to real estate, supply, transport, IT and collaborators. In 2009, BCF became a pioneer as it ranked as one of the first financial establishments in Switzerland and the first cantonal bank to measure CO2 emissions according to ISO 14064 standards. Its emissions amounted to 1,297 tons.

BCF has also founded a sustainable development commission, which proposes annual goals to the Executive Board as part of the bank’s normal strategy. For its IT, this is now resulting in an integrated Green IT approach. As part of this, BCF subcontracts 500 workplaces and 150 applications to Swisscom IT Services, focused around two key tools: Finnova and SAP.

 

 

Renewables Half of BCF electricty needs comes from renewables.

 

 

Within its IT system maintenance activities, BCF has automated data reorganisation, thus saving some 40% of storage space on storage area networks and servers, which has resulted in a stabilisation of computing power and energy consumption. BCF has reduced the release frequency for Finnova from an initially monthly then quartely to currently biannual rate. Test’s energy and  resource consumption are reduced and the bank’s productivity has gained in reliability. The implementation of these criteria has allowed BCF to reduce its energy consumption and rationalise its equipment renewal. Finally, BCF benefits from Swisscom IT Services’s accumulated experience with new versions of software as well as hardware. In conclusion, the partnership between BCF and Swisscom IT Services shows that implementing Green IT is just as much scope for IT companies as it is for their customers. Furthermore, Green IT is  also compatible with good IT governance and enables  cost reductions. Finally, Green IT will gain in importance with the rapid development of IT needs, which requires continuous and increased improvements in energy efficiency.

 

 

The Green IT partnership is as follows: • Servers hosted in energy efficient data centres. Swisscom IT Services has ISO 14001 authentication. • Reduced number of servers thanks to virtualisation technology. • Workplace management by automatic stop at end of day. • Renewal of office printers with models configured per default  in double-sided print mode (2008: 30%, 2009: 60%). • Printers with no toxic emissions according to the standards issued by BITKOM (the German industry body for IT, telecommunications and new media).

For the renewal of its equipment, BCF defines three criteria: 1. Functional criteria, like time response per application or printing capacity parameters; 2. Normative criteria, namely Energy Star (energy efficiency of equipment), EPEAT (environmental quality of equipment), Blue Angle (life cycle of equipment); 3. Recommended criteria, such as those of the WWF for the assessment of IT manufacturers.

By Christian

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