Green matters: Environmental injection for BMA

Martin Kelmanson, head of the ICTS division of the British Medical Association (BMA), is eager to lobby government on green issues, but first the association had to get its own house in order.

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There’s still a lot of work to be done and Kelmanson is optimistic about the difference that the EITLT can make. In particular he’s keen for it to play a role in cutting through 'green wash' with some kind of sensible metric.

On 3 December, practical environmental charity Global Action Plan will launch in-depth research at an event at the House of Commons, with the backing of Peter Ainsworth MP, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs and maverick MP Alan Simpson. The research, called ‘The Inefficient Truth’, will reveal environmental awareness amongst the UK IT community and what steps are being taken to reduce IT's impact on the environment. The findings have been compiled after a Green IT Survey, which was conducted by Computerworld UK, and backed by Logicalis.

"Unfortunately 'green' has become the marketing people’s mantra – it’s impossible to go to a vendor event without hearing the word half a dozen times." He points out that carbon is the metric of choice for government while IT vendors make much of the amounts of heat generated.

"What’s needed is a consistent measure, such as you are supposed to get in supermarkets when comparing labels on price per kilo.”

Have you calculated the carbon footprint of your IT activities?

Yes. The Carbon Trust Report highlighted that we could save 16% of our energy consumption. Overall we could reduce electricity consumption by almost 1,000,000 Kwh across our offices with a payback period of less than a year but giving ongoing annual savings of around £45,000.

Does your department pay for the energy consumed by your organisation’s IT equipment?

Not directly. But I’m very conscious of how much energy is consumed in delivering desktop capability, for example.

Does IT play a role in defining corporate social responsibility (CSR) and green strategy in the organisation?

I hate the CSR acronym because I think everyone has to take a level of personal responsibility in these matters. As far as IT goes, I have an open invite to the BMA’s Green Committee.

Which environmental policy have you implemented that you feel has been particularly significant?

Educating users. Whether it’s switching off computers at night or using less paper. We try not to impose policies directly or preach at users - before we reduced our printer count, there was a consultation. My printer budget has halved as a result.
Do you have an identified person within IT who is now responsible for green IT? That’s me – although I feel it has to be on your personal as well as professional agenda in order to be effective.

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