WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Another green approach

Let me say up front that I believe in the green revolution. We recycle and compost at my house. We grow our own vegetables and we buy organic ? unless it is too expensive.

But when it comes to green IT, I've been a skeptic. Other than promoting energy savings at data centers, I struggle with whether green IT is a huge business opportunity for government contractors.

It's a good thing I'm not an executive at one of those companies because after listening to Sudhakar Kesavan, chairman and chief executive officer of ICF International, I realized my thinking has been focused in the wrong direction.

Kesavan gave a presentation last week at a breakfast sponsored by the Northern Virginia Technology Council on why his company announced a strategy for going green and reducing its carbon footprint.

Of course, ICF does a lot of consulting to help agencies and companies go green, so they had to walk the talk themselves, which Kesavan readily acknowledged.

But he made several interesting points beyond that. I'll hit some highlights.

1. No matter where you stand on the issue of climate change and global warming, regulations are coming. Kesavan outlined 10 Senate and House bills that have been introduced. Sponsors include such moderate and conservative stalwarts as Sens. John Warner (R-Va.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Arlen Spector (R-Pa.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). With this many proposals, there is little doubt that some law with new regulations and requirements will be passed.

There also are several state-level initiatives underway.

As Kesavan said, you have to accept the fact that regulations are coming and they aren't going to just impact the big emitters of greenhouse gases.

2. Employee recruitment and retention ? people want to feel good about where they work and that where they work is playing a role in reducing pollution and greenhouse gases. It needs to be more than a slogan; they have to feel and see a company's commitment.

3. Customers and consumers are becoming more demanding that the companies they buy from are reducing their impact on the environment. Investors also are considering green factors when deciding where to put their dollars.

4. The Bottom Line ? Kesavan had statistics tying environmental stewardship to financial performance. There are indications that companies that take the environment seriously tend to be well-managed companies that perform well and are more profitable than companies that do not.

I'm leaving out lots of other stuff, but the presentation is available at the ICF web site ? http://www.icfi.com/nvtc.

So this has me thinking how Washington Technology should be covering this topic. If you have some ideas, post a comment or send me an e-mail ? nwakeman@1105govinfo.com.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Feb 06, 2008 at 9:55 AM

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