May 26, 2010

World scientific consensus requires that carbon emissions need to be 80% lower by the year 2050 and, this June, World Environment Day will again put the spotlight on the fact that we are destroying our planet faster than we are replenishing it. CRS Technologies, a human resources and payroll solutions provider, believes that IT can be the catalyst to get your company thinking green.

Much like employment equity was enforced, environmental audits and carbon disclosure policies will soon become mandatory for South African businesses. In 2009, 68% of the JSE Top 100 voluntarily made public their carbon emissions, ranking only behind Brazil in disclosure response globally.

The World Trade Organisation is already looking to bring in cap-and-trade taxes, which will allow companies to trade in emissions. As a signatory, South Africa’s Department of Trade and Industry will be quick to ratify any agreements reached at the global level. It makes sense for South African countries to gear up for green regulation sooner rather than later. Gartner has already suggested that in the next two years power consumption on non-data centre IT equipment will grow by at least 2.4 percent and warn that if companies don’t self regulate, the potential for harsh supra national policy intervention is high.

The King III report has also shifted how the company views IT. CIOs have been charged with ‘stewardship’ of the company’s architecture and resources. Clear environmental guidelines have been laid out and company management are no longer able to abdicate responsibility through ignorance.

IT has a significant part to play in greening a company. Many companies have already opted for the more obvious green initiative in power and cooling cuts. However, IT and HR can have a far bigger impact throughout the company than CIOs and IT managers previously thought.

The issue extends well beyond just considering trees before printing payslips or recycling old printer cartridges and hardware. Cloud computing, environmental audits, green forensics, business conscience, green intelligence and sustainable IT all fall under the banner of holistic human resources.

“Holistic transition is a definitely a trend. Green pressure is mounting and we are seeing a shift in attitude when it comes to green business ratings. Vendors actively taking a responsible approach to their footprints are being favoured over the eco-reckless and, conscience aside, CFOs are realising the bottom-line importance of environmental business health and the impact of traditional IT and business processes on the planet,” says Dave Philp, Operations Director at CRS Technologies.

With self-service and paperless payroll processes playing an obvious role in eco-smart human resources departments, CRS has designed two new ‘kiosk solutions’ – online systems which allow employees to access and process their own data in a greener manner than their paper-based predecessors.

However, self-service solutions often bring computer literacy issues to the fore where ground-force workers are involved.

The CRS DIY and CRS inTouch platforms are two simple-to-use modular systems designed to streamline HR management processes. inTouch, designed specifically for employees with limited computer literacy, uses a touch-screen interface with easy navigation. Each solution offers easy integration with minimal training and limited transitional downtime.

“Clients using our ‘kiosk solutions’ have actually found that their workforce’s computer literacy skills have been enhanced since implementation,” says Philp.

“Self-service HR systems greatly boost green reputations and ratings. Any business serious about their environmental agenda needs to consider empowering each employee with their own HR toolkit, instilling in them a sense of responsibility for the planet too,” says Philp.