Assessment of Global Low-Carbon and Environmental Leadership in the ICT Sector (Report)

Role: author with Simon Mingay

Summary
With increased pressure to reduce carbon emissions, enterprises are approaching this new situation in very different ways. Some are still struggling to assess their own business environmental and climate impact. Other enterprises approach the need to reduce carbon emissions among customers as an opportunity to move beyond their relatively smaller direct impact and also focus on the opportunity that low-carbon ICT services can provide. The difference in how companies approach the need for a low- carbon economy is creating a new corporate landscape where new winners and losers will emerge and where ICT customers must learn to navigate. This is an assessment of 24 of the industry's world-leading providers and an analysis of where the ICT industry is today in relation to its maturity in mitigating environmental risks and exploiting the opportunities that the need for reduced carbon emissions will create.

Key Findings

  • 2008 has seen the emergence of some low-carbon "leaders" in the ICT industry. They are just starting to wake up to the risks and opportunities of climate change, and move beyond pushing a more energy-efficient device. However, on the whole, the industry has been sleepwalking toward a low-carbon economy. 2009 will see rapid progress.

  • There is frequently more talking than there is action on behalf of the ICT providers. The results show those who need to make significant steps forward if their actions are to match their marketing.

  • Some of the "self-professed" leaders in environmental performance have some significant weaknesses in their programs.

  • Most providers still view "the environment" and "climate change" as a risk rather than as an opportunity.

  • Most ICT technology providers have outsourced most, if not all, manufacturing. So looking at the vendors' performance is looking at the tip of the iceberg — which is further compounded by most of those vendors only looking at the environmental performance of their Tier 1 suppliers.

  • Service organizations are quite immature in their environmental programs and their innovation for a low-carbon economy.

  • There is a lack of interindustry partnerships to create innovative solutions to tackle high- carbon areas of the economy.

    © 2008 Gartner, Inc. and/or its Affiliates. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction and distribution of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner's research may discuss legal issues related to the information technology business, Gartner does not provide legal advice or services and its research should not be construed or used as such. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

  • The vendors from Asia (not Japan) are still lagging behind but some have begun to put comprehensive programs in place, and it is likely that they will move rapidly to the front in this area, driven by the urgent needs for low-carbon solutions in their domestic markets.

  • Fifteen of the 24 providers invited to participate did so, which is a good level of commitment from the industry. However, nine providers chose not to participate. With one exception, we believe that reflects their immaturity in environmental and low-carbon leadership.

  • This is a rapidly changing area.

Link to report

Indian Companies with Solutions that the World Needs (Report)

Role: Co-author with Sachin Joshi, Seema Arora and  Shirish Sinha

Summary
This report, ‘Indian Companies with the solutions that the World Needs’, builds on the previous report “Indian Companies in the 21st Century” by WWF and explores in a more detailed manner how some companies in India are understanding and responding to changing sustainability trends through innovation and business strategy.1

The five in-depth case studies and two examples in this report include companies from diverse economic sectors that have varied economic, social and environmental concerns and impacts. Nevertheless, they contain some common threads and lessons that can be applied in different contexts. The case studies capture key initiatives and identify important ways in which sustainability has affected the drivers of business competitiveness and success: access to markets, operational efficiency, access to capital or superior reputation, and most importantly innovation.

Recent years have seen a growing range of economic, social, environmental and governance issues push into the mainstream of politics and business. The priorities for action emerging from a range of summit meetings - such as the G8 and the World Economic Forum - tend to share one common characteristic: they all relate to current market failures or dysfunctions.

While most sustainability challenges – such as income disparity, loss of biodiversity and assosiated impacts - are not new; globalisation has directly or indirectly exacerbated many problems to a degree where many of these questions are now dealt with as matters of global and national security, e.g. climate change and food prices. Information technology is propelling increased awareness about the scope of societal needs and the lack of progress to date by governments and traditional non-governmental organisations. Businesses, civil society and governments, once considered strange bed-fellows, are now working together to resolve some of the most chronic problems.

This trend was implicit in the 2008 agenda of the World Economic Forum annual meeting at Davos, which closed with a call by business, government and civil society leaders for a new brand of collaborative and innovative leaders to address the challenges of globalisation, particularly the pressing problems of conflict, terrorism, climate change and water conservation.2

Business, political and civil society leaders at the World Economic Forum’s India Economic Summit 2007, called on India to focus on skills development, improving governance, upgrading of education, forging public- private partnerships in infrastructure and addressing environmental degradation and water scarcity to sustain the high growth the country requires.

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保定/Baoding: A global “Electric Valley” for sustainable energy production? (Report)

Baoding.jpg

Role: author with Rasmus Reinvang, Chen Dongmei, Stefan Henningsson, Hongpeng Lei, Li Junfeng, Ma Lingjuan, Liu Minglian, and Wang Ying

Comment
This is the simple version that does not look into the future and estimate the significant potential for Baoding to contribute to global GHG reduction from export of smart solutions. What is interesting is that these very significant contributions were still an underestimation. Still today Baoding is one of the few cities in the world that have estimated their global climate contribution though export of low-carbon solutions.  

Summary

China is the factory of the world providing us with a large variety of products at an affordable price. Lowering prices on renewable energy and energy efficiency products is also a key issue in our battle to mitigate climate change.

Baoding is recognized by the Chinese Government as a first and only industrial base for development of China’s new energy sector. The world needs a dramatic increase in renewable energy if we are to be able to secure a sustainable energy supply for the global economy and avoid dangerous climate change. Baoding is therefore a key to global sustainable development.

This is an introduction to Baoding providing an overview of Baoding’s rapid development, potential future role, some preliminary results and assessments, as background for a visit to Baoding by China Council (CCICED) and OECD embassies in Beijing.

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