Apple, Facebook, Google progress toward a Green Internet, but coal-heavy utilities stand in the way.
A recently published Greenpeace report urges improved transparency from Amazon, and more engagement from all major internet companies to overcome resistance to renewable energy from monopoly utilities.
Greenpeace’s research states that major internet companies including Apple, Facebook and Google continue to lead efforts to build an internet that is renewably powered, but an uncooperative utility sector and rapid energy demand growth for the internet places those ambitions under threat. Continued resistance to renewable investments from coal-heavy monopoly utilities in data centre hot spots such as Virginia, North Carolina, and Taiwan is causing the rapid growth in the digital world to increase the demand for dirty energy.
“Tech companies are increasingly turning to the smart choice of renewable energy to power the internet, but they’re hitting a wall of stubborn monopoly power companies that refuse to switch to 21st century sources of energy. Internet companies need to work together to push utilities and policymakers to provide them with 100 per cent renewable energy and avoid the creation of a dirty internet.” said Gary Cook, Senior IT Analyst for Greenpeace USA.
The report, “Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet,” also highlights the continued lack of transparency by cloud giant Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS has taken some significant steps over the last year, including committing to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy, but the lack of basic transparency about its energy use is a growing concern for its customers. Although AWS did announce plans to purchase over 100 MW of wind energy this past year, Greenpeace discovered that AWS continues to rapidly expand in Virginia. Based on an analysis of permit applications by Amazon subsidiary Vadata, AWS made investments in new data center capacity in 2014 that would increase its energy demand by 200 MW in that state, where the utility Dominion powers the grid with only 2 per cent renewable energy.
The report found that Apple continues to be the most aggressive in powering its data center operations with renewable energy. Despite continued rapid growth, Apple appears to have kept pace with its supply of renewable energy, maintaining its claim of a 100 per cent renewably powered cloud for another year, followed by Yahoo, Facebook and Google with 73 per cent, 49 per cent and 46 per cent clean energy respectively. Greenpeace found that Amazon’s current investments would deliver an energy mix of 23 per cent renewable energy for its operations.
“Amazon needs to provide more information about its data center footprint and how it will move toward 100 per cent renewable energy, as Apple, Google, and Facebook have done – its rapid expansion in coal dependent Virginia should be a concern to its customers like Netflix and Pinterest who are fully dependent on Amazon for their online operations. Increased transparency will allow AWS customers to know where they and AWS stand on their journey to 100 per cent renewable energy,” said Cook.
The energy use of our digital infrastructure, which would have ranked sixth in the world among countries in 2011, continues to rapidly increase, and is largely being driven by the dramatic growth of streaming video services like Youtube, Netflix, and Hulu. Video streaming is estimated to account for more than 60 per cent of consumer internet traffic today, and is expected to grow to 76 per cent by 2018.
Apple continues to lead the way toward a green internet with several major renewable energy investments announced in the last year, including an $850 million deal to power its operations in California – the largest ever non-utility solar deal. Google’s march toward 100 per cent renewable energy is threatened by monopoly utilities like Duke Energy in North Carolina, a major hub for data centers.
Currently, customers are not allowed to buy power from anyone other than Duke, which gets only 2 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources, but North Carolina legislators are trying to increase the options for consumers to buy renewable energy from parties other than Duke Energy.
Colocation companies, the internet landlords that rent out data center space, continue to lag far behind consumer-facing data center operators in seeking renewable energy to power their operations, but Equinix’s adoption of a 100 per cent renewable energy commitment and offering of renewably hosted facilities is an important step forward and puts the company at the front of the colocation pack.
Greenpeace contacted every company assessed in the report to request data on their energy use. When companies did not respond, as was the case with Amazon, Greenpeace estimated their energy consumption using conservative assumptions and publicly available information.
Greenpeace is calling on all major internet companies to:
Make a long-term commitment to become 100 per cent renewably powered.
Commit to transparency on IT performance and consumption of resources, including the sources of electricity, to enable customers, investors, and stakeholders to measure progress toward that goal.
Develop a strategy for increasing their supply of renewable energy, through a mixture of procurement, investment, and corporate advocacy to both electricity suppliers and government decision-makers.
Keynote speaker Chris Lynch (CFO, Rio Tinto) spoke about fostering a culture of “intrapreneurship” within large organisations and understanding that the bigger your idea is, the more resistance it will face.
However he went on to state that by persisting with your idea, taking ideas from other sources, including suppliers, and showing the outcomes, you are more likely to succeed.
David Noble, Group Chief Executive of The Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) took the stage at the Big Ideas Summit to shift a few paradigms.
Every organisation relies on buying things to run their business and as buyer you’re in an extremely powerful position. But because buyers often operate behind the scenes, many people aren’t aware of procurement and supply as a career choice.
CIPS is not just UK-based. The membership spans the globe. You can find Institute members in 150 different countries. It brings everyone together to share news and ideas through member events, networking opportunities and discussion forums.
The profession is not just all male. Half of the 114,000-strong community worldwide is female. At a student level Singapore now has more of a female skew than male.
At CIPS nearly half the senior staff and board is female.
The membership was primarily seen as kindergarten – now this may have been true maybe 20 years prior, but things have changed.
We are in a sea change.
David says that we are in a sea change, therefore we must understand our business environment and what the Institute is doing about it.
Only 1/3 of CEO’s believe P&S professionals are ready for the strategic challenges ahead.
CIPS has set about doing work to define the future profession. And it is clear from the results of its survey that the profession has come-of age. Now it’s time to ‘raise your game and raise your voice,’ to ensure that procurement becomes pivotal to organisational success and value delivery, with a key role to play at the highest levels.
Let’s start selling this profession better by becoming the story tellers of our success.
Top buyers are in huge demand around the world and can achieve extremely high positions within companies.
Driving value is like driving change. To drive change is never easy so you need to persevere, and have dogged determination. You are able to add value not just from cost reductions, but also from the innovation and creativity you can bring to the role. And because of procurement’s involvement across the whole value chain, you could not find any function with such a unique position in any organisation.
Richard Allen receives The Faculty’s ‘CPO of the Year’ title.
Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) at Telstra, Richard Allen, was last night announced CPO of the Year by leading procurement consultancy The Faculty.
Awarded at the Asia-Pacific CPO Forum’s annual gala dinner held at the Eureka89, Melbourne, Mr Allen was chosen from a shortlist of top performing CPOs in the region.
Sponsored by WORKWEAR Group, part of Wesfarmers Industrial & Safety (WIS), the award highlights the importance of the CPO role in organisations by recognising CPOs who hold strong functional and technical expertise, realise commercial outcomes, demonstrate leadership influence and leverage the value of procurement across their businesses.
Responsible for all outsourcing decisions at Telstra, encompassing both local agencies and overseas partners with a procurement spend in excess of $12 billion, Mr Allen is credited with making a significant contribution to the telecommunications company’s customer-focused strategy over the past four years.
Richard was nominated by Robert Nason, Group Executive, Business Support and Improvement at Telstra, who said: “Richard has been instrumental in Telstra’s transformation over recent years, and his commercial leadership has helped Telstra strengthen its customer service offering,”
“He’s introduced innovative service evaluation, to measure and increase advocacy within Telstra’s suppliers, recognising that they are often our customers, too,”
“Richard’s also led a widespread rationalisation of our supplier base, reducing it by 30 per cent, which benefits both our business and our customers.”
Another innovation introduced by Richard was his ‘reverse sourcing’ initiative where he achieved a 90 per cent change in payment terms from suppliers, which has unlocked a significant incremental cash benefit to the business.
Mr Allen’s ability to lead the procurement function through an extensive domestic change program and make a significant contribution to Telstra’s transformation is what captured the judging panel’s attention.
Judging Panel Chair it is Dr Karen Morely said: “The change Mr Allen has made at Telstra is a perfect example of how procurement can support a company’s value proposition whilst also keeping a close eye on costs.”
“Richard’s ability to broaden the role of procurement across the business and reap such strong rewards is the result of his functional excellence, leadership, commercial capabilities and personal drive.”
The Faculty’s Founding Chairman Tania Seary said: “Making a tremendous impact on one of Australia’s largest corporations and driving real change across the business is far from simple – yet Richard has shown that his technical skills and leadership combined are a perfect formulae for success.
“The Faculty congratulates Richard and the procurement team at Telstra for all their achievements over the past four years, and hope that others in the industry learn from their excellent results.”
Established in 2012, the CPO awards program, a flagship initiative of The Faculty, was created to recognise and celebrate the achievements of procurement professionals across Asia Pacific.
WORKWEAR Group General Manager, Chris Jones, said that while procurement is one of the fastest growing professions in Australia, awards like CPO of the Year recognise the crucial impact procurement can have on business outcomes.
“The CPO role is not just about sourcing and purchasing, but includes building or protecting brand reputation, mitigating risks and help companies deliver on their value promise.”
For more information on the Faculty’s CPO of the Year Award, please visit here.
Katie Gallagher, managing director at the North’s leading independent digital trade association comments on the result of the UK General Election and how it is going to effect the digital sector in the North.
“The coalition certainly brought in some good initiatives for tech and digital businesses, most of which until recently were focused on London. However this changed dramatically in the run-up to the election where there was borderline hysteria from all political parties about tech and the North.
“I hope that the Tories will continue to invest in the North and understand just how vital our technology sector is to job growth and the wider economy. It’ll be interesting to see how the Tech North initiative pans out, considering it was a Lib Dem initiative all along.
“While the last Government did introduce computer science into the curriculum, they also introduced several controversial reforms which were actually at odds with the desire to create work ready students with vocational, hands on experience.
“David Cameron has said his party will create more apprenticeships, and whilst we admire this ambition, digital technology apprenticeships have not been as successful as hoped, particularly in the SME community. The infrastructure still isn’t right to get enough quality talent from schools into digital apprenticeships, so I hope the new Government will look to change this. We really need to get digital education right this time and tackle this skills gap once and for all.
“I’d also like to see additional investment in promising start-ups. While we did see the introduction of some helpful finance products under the coalition, there’s still number of decent tech businesses that are struggling to access the finance they need to grow. Cameron has been known to champion UK start-ups, so I hope this remains a priority.
“It was a challenge for us to make sure industry voices were heard in the right places with the last Government. I hope that the new Government listens this time and realises its approach to digital, skills and economic growth needs to be joined up, and the best way of doing that is from a business-led, bottom up approach.”
A report released by the Corporate Executive Board in May of this year has highlighted the key reasons procurement professionals leave their roles.
Despite a number of great success stories depicting the fantastic opportunities the function presents and positioning a career in procurement as a ‘job for life’, the study revealed that procurement professionals are among the most likely employees to want to leave their jobs. Only 29 per cent of the CEB survey respondents suggested they had a high intent to stay on in their current roles.
The following chart provides some insight as to the reasons that procurement professionals want to leave their roles.
Increased compensation, benefits and workplace flexibility are motivations to leave that are likely shared regardless of industry, so it is difficult to address these in a procurement specific context. However, CEB has outlined some strategies that procurement managers can follow in order to keep their staff.
“Procurement managers should take time to explain to their employees how and why they are valuable to the company and the function, and seek to show employees how they can fulfil their personal career goals by staying at the company”
CEB also outlined the following characteristics of procurement employees:
Procurement staff are more likely to switch jobs for more senior positions than their counterparts in other parts of the business
The prospect of working with more talented colleagues is a motivator for procurement professionals. This again feeds into the ongoing importance of the need for procurement teams to attract top talent.
Procurement staff are more satisfied with the strategic nature of the work they are doing than staff from other functions. The report showed that procurement employees are less likely to want to change jobs for more engaging day-to-day work than their counterparts from other parts of the business.