Awareness of the impact IT has on the environment is growing rapidly but, as with all matters of public concern, government has a lead role to play in setting an example. Last year, the Queensland Government announced plans to spend $100 million on desktops, notebooks and servers over the next three years. Any suppliers wanting a place on the panel were asked to provide detailed environmental policies as part of their submissions.
Brisbane-based national integrator, Data#3, was one of three companies to make the shortlist alongside multinationals Dell and Fujitsu. For the first time, it was now able to deal directly with government agencies - a situation that offered great opportunities but also presented significant challenges.
Under an environmental and sustainable procurement section, areas of focus included hardware energy efficiency, hazardous substances and packaging. Attention was also given to ecological design and sustainable goods development. The last section of the tender concentrated on the disposal of equipment, seeking assurance that old equipment would be disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner.
"It was requesting a complete 'cradle to grave' service," Data#3 project lead, Brenda Conroy, said. "We chose energy efficient equipment, looked at longer lifecycles and demonstrated that we were able to remove older equipment and ensure it would be recycled or remarketed."
As part of the QP707 panel, Data#3 supplies Queensland Government agencies with HP and Toshiba products. Conroy said the initial request included about 100,000 notebooks, tablet PCs, desktops, servers and thin clients. The consolidation of purchasing behaviour across the whole of government is expected to deliver a saving of about $20 million during the next 12 months.
The ASX-listed integrator developed a website - www.qp707.com - which provides agencies with access to product information, pricing and environmental features as well as procurement, tracking and disposal of equipment across the state. It also aimed to reduce total cost ownership through restricting any unnecessary growth in computer configuration.
"If you worked for Queensland Health, for example, you would be able to go to your specific page and look up relevant information instead of having to call somebody," Conroy said. "It's like a one-stop shop."
The website provided agencies with the ability to maintain full disclosure of asset lifecycle, Data#3 national manager of marketing and alliances, Mark Phillips, said. Previously, they would not have been in a position to describe what has happened to assets, other than to say whether they had been remarketed or resold.