Because of JohnsonDiversey’s corporate commitment to sustainability, our leaders have been embedding it in more and more of our function objectives. For IT, this means looking at each project through a filter of how the project is affecting our overall corporate sustainability goal. This filter includes the standard measures of energy savings and carbon footprint, but we evaluate these factors across the whole solution. Shifting the impact to a partner or vendor is not a win in our book; a solution, such as our move to cloud computing, is only considered a success if it truly lessens our global impact on the environment.
But CIOs shouldn’t be fixated on finding a 100 percent green solution for every IT or business need. Focusing that narrowly, and sacrificing evaluation of other potential solutions in the name of sustainability, will affect your company’s performance. Backups and complimentary systems that are not green will often need to be part of the solution, and these should be factored into the larger environmental impact, not considered failures. The big question is whether or not your solution has had a positive effect on your company’s impact, overall.
IT has been a part of Marriott’s Corporate Executive Green Council from the beginning, helping to form the strategy for our Spirit to Preserve initiative and thinking about how IT can support that vision. Much of that support comes through more traditional initiatives, such as moving to virtualized desktop environments, using only Energy-Star-rated hardware, and training security personnel to measure and adjust data center temperatures rather than using an automated system. As in that last case, sometimes the decision to not automate a process will bring better results in both sustainability and cost savings than turning to the most cutting-edge technology available.
But we are also always looking for how IT can help Marriott’s global sustainability goals with initiatives that are not considered "green IT". One project that has had a huge practical impact was our move to make some fairly simple additions to our corporate website. Spirit to Preserve is highlighted on our front page, and behind that is a sub-site providing information about Marriott’s partnership with the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation and a system for online donations.