Once upon a time, the idea of using expensive, environmentally-friendly IT was expected to flop in the harsh world of business. But fast-forward to 2009 and green technology has leapt off the drawing boards into the realm of profitability.
For Datacom CEO, Michael Browne, the drivers to become a greener company first gained traction four years ago.
“It first started from a couple of people in Sydney who were quite passionate about this and brought forward suggestions around recycling, which gained a degree of momentum,” he said. “We then went forward and did our first carbon footprint audit looking for other ways to improve and we’ve got a mandate to make the whole company ISO14001 compliant by the end of this year.”
It was this commitment to excel in a field where many companies fail to see past the return on investment that has won Datacom the ARN Green Project award three years running.
“Datacom takes its social responsibility very seriously. Our board has a strong view that if, as an entity, all we’re doing is seeking to maximise return to the shareholders, you run the risk of becoming a soul-less entity,” Browne said. “We employ over 3000 in four countries now in a lot of different locations and as an IT company, we are an inherently large user of electricity. We’re also involved in a lot of products and components, which gives rise to quite a significant carbon footprint.
“We believe that we are in a position to do a range of things to help the environment.”
According to Browne, Datacom was and remains well aware of the financial cost that comes with being green.
“At the office I’m sitting in, we paid to have our windows tinted – and this is a place with 500 people,” the CEO said. “But the cost will pay itself within a couple of years of reduced air-conditioning costs. It’s a simple thing but we just take the longer-term view.”
The community’s push for a greener environment has also pressured organisations into checking green credentials when making purchasing decisions, yielding strong commercial results for Datacom.
“We find customers in the Federal Government and increasingly the corporate arena are making green credentials quite a key part of their decision making process,” Browne said.
The most clear example of environmental friendliness reaping benefits came from a major Federal Government contract won by Datacom to provide desktop, LAN, helpdesk and mid-range services.
“When we won the Department of Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts business recently, which is a $78 million initial contract, the green credentials part of their tender was very heavy,” Browne said. This was made even clearer by the Minister responsible, Peter Garrett, who singled out Datacom and its strong track record of having an environmental conscience.
“Datacom Systems has an excellent track record in providing IT managed services in Australia and overseas and its proposed products for us meet at least the Silver requirements of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool standard – in many cases the Gold standard,” the Minister said in a keynote speech.