I think most people recognise the need for and are interested to know more about the topic of sustainability, and that interest goes beyond just a discussion or activities in the data centre. When i discovered that a colleague Colette Lewiner was right at the heart of this topic and had even written a document for government officials who will be meeting this week i felt that a guest blog by Colette would interest many people:
“This week the hotly debated topic of climate change will be discussed as key European policy makers come together in Copenhagen for the World Business Summit on Climate Change. The summit, attended by world leaders and energy experts including Ban Ki-moon, from the United Nations; Al Gore, former US Vice President; and Connie Hedegaard, Minister of Climate and Energy for Denmark, will aim to develop policy and innovative business models to drive a sustainable transformation of the economy and stimulate job creation alongside low-carbon solutions.
A recent Capgemini study (“Long-term sustainability orientations for businesses”) looks into this topic and measures how during the current economic downturn, many companies are focusing on short-term decisions in order to overcome day-to-day difficulties, particularly in regard to sustainable development. However, it is important for businesses not to lose sight of the long-term impact of their decisions, especially because the present short term economic signals are not indicative of future challenges They should continue to invest in energy savings and in decreasing their CO2 footprint as well as in lower consuming products (as the Light Emitting Diodes to replace the incandescent bubbles). However,because of the presently low energy prices and of the lack of available project financing, the Return On Investment on these needed improvement projects is too long. This is why Government’s support to boost these investments in industry and tertiary businesses should be decided.

Although global energy and electricity consumptions have fallen significantly in recent months due to the economic crisis, the benefits of easing the pressure on the world’s limited energy resources will be relatively short lived. Governments across the globe, particularly within the EU, China and United States have made pledges of millions of dollars to encourage energy and utility companies to invest in the needed infrastructures with a focus on renewable energies. As we are in a heavy industry where new facilities take years to be completed, it is vital that these investments continues to happen throughout the downturn; if not the after crisis “wake-up” will be difficult.
Our planet’s population is growing rapidly in developing countries and these populations have legitimate aspirations for better standards of living (for example there are currently around 1.6 billion people in the world who have no access to electricity). So, one can expect that, after the crisis is over, worldwide energy demand will go up again. Thus, it is vital that the reduction in energy consumption in developed countries aims at compensating partially for the increase in the developing ones.”
Colette Lewiner, Global Leader of Energy, Utilities & Chemicals, Capgemini