Australian Crime Commission goes carbon neutral

Agency gets carbon neutral certified through Computers Off Australia

The Australian Crime Commission’s ICT department has turned over a new leaf by becoming the first Australian organisation to become completely carbon neutral.

The agency's carbon neutral status was certified by Computers Off Australia (COA), a campaign group encouraging businesses and government to reduce their IT carbon footprint.

COA founder, Mark Winter, said the news represents a significant moment for both the campaign, and for businesses and government in general.

“This really throws down the gauntlet to other organisations, and encourages them to take steps themselves [towards sustainable/carbon neutral practices],” he said.

The Minister for Home affairs, Brendan O’Connor, congratulated the department for its efforts, and said the financial and environmental benefits would be significant.

“Through this achievement, the ACC will now save 435 tonnes of greenhouse gases per annum, which equates to 75 passenger vehicles,” O’Connor said.

“The ACC will also save approximately $80,000 per annum in power and $43,000 per annum in licensing and maintenance fees.”

Andrew Cann, the ACC’s Chief Information Officer, said a significant part of the process involved a move to virtualised servers using Citrix solutions.

This allowed for the decommissioning in September of some 71 physical servers, each carrying a repurchasing cost of around $3000.

He also said much of the cost was in their original move to virtualised servers and very little needed to be spent in recent times on negating the carbon footprint.

“It [the move to carbon neutral] didn’t start out with a ‘green’ driver, it started out for other reasons, and most of the capital expenditure was in the virtualisation process and centralising the document management. That was a couple of years ago," he said.

“What we’ve done this year has almost entirely been human resource hours for our internal staff. I think we spent no more than ten thousand dollars finishing it off.”

Cann said the ACC was already looking at further ways to diminish its footprint and ICT costs. However, Winter said you don’t have to solve the problem all in one fell swoop.

“You do need to look at it from a holistic perspective, but at the same time, it’s not a matter of ‘unless we can virtualise everything, let’s just not do anything. There a small steps corporations and governments as well can take.”

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