IT environment group strengthens government links

Computers Off appoints former government lobbyist to assist industry and government with more efficient IT management

Recently established environmental organisation, Computers Off, has appointed its first CEO/economist as it looks to build links between its IT-based initiatives and government.

Former government lobbyist, Dr Idris Sulaiman, will head up the not-for profit organisation, working alongside Computers Off founder, Mark Winter. The objective of Computers Off is to educate businesses and users on what they can do to reduce their CO2 footprint.

Sulaiman previously worked in the energy efficiency branch within the Australian Department of Environment. His resume also includes stints with global IT training organisation, CompTIA, and the Indonesian IT Federation focusing on ICT development and government procurement, educational institutions and IT for SMEs.

While it was important to lobby government and have adequate regulation and legislation in place, Sulaiman argued the industry also needed to take a proactive role around systems management and environmental policy.

"Law and government isn't the only way to bring about best practice, which is why I joined the Computers Off campaign," Sulaiman said. "We want to set the example in the commercial sector.

"We need to link industry and government environmental standards in order to get Australia up and above the global average."

Winter, who is also the sales and marketing director at wireless distributor, InTechnology, said he originally devised Computers Off as a commercial initiative to encourage resellers and their customers to purchase more energy efficient and greener products. But he soon realised the broader implications and opted to register the campaign as a not-for profit organisation.

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"We need to provide an accelerator or driver to get things going," Winter said. "I have four kids and know that if we don't do something, they won't have as good a life as I did."

Winters compared Computers Off to the longstanding Australian-made initiative. Organisations who wish to participate will purchase a membership license which entitles them to display the Computers Off logo and information within their own company material. Computers Off will also list member organisations on its website.

The organisation's website also includes information and Web links to free software tools which companies can use to calculate their energy efficiency, as well as information on reporting and related industry and environmental news.

In order to participate, businesses must have a power management policy or be in the development stages of creating one, and have to provide a letter of commitment to greening their IT. Sulaiman said Computers Now would have the right to audit organisations to ensure they adhered to its code of practice.

Winters said several large corporates had already expressed interest in participating in the Computers Off program and it had received pledges for financial support from the corporate community as well as the channel.

Winter hoped Computers Off would expand out of its local roots and become globally recognised. The organisation currently has two directors on its board - Robin Ackerman and Tom Worthington - and is looking to appoint an additional 6-8 board members. It also plans to create an advisory board of IT and non-IT professionals to assist with developing new ideas, and establish an office in Canberra in the next six months.

"We're hoping that IT can not only reduce its footprint, but become an enabler in other areas," Sulaiman said.