Tuesday, 23rd September 2008
Tim Buckley Owen
If you work in the financial services sector, you may well have already decided that there’s little you can do to avoid at least short term pain. But that shouldn’t deflect people from starting to look for where the next opportunities may be opening up.
Members of the City Information Group – the independent association for UK financial information professionals – must be feeling especially exposed right now. But CiG has always been a resourceful organisation in adversity – so when it decides to devote its AGM seminar to green issues, perhaps others in the information profession should sit up and take notice.
‘In business our clients now require us to answer questions on everything from paper recycling to offsetting carbon emissions,’ CiG says http://digbig.com/4xnet – and it has invited two eminently well qualified speakers to address its 30 September event. Helen Woolston’s job is to introduce low carbon technologies and behavioural change initiatives within Transport for London, and Gina Nason is an environmental information professional with 11 years’ research experience.
CiG seems to have timed it just right: a new report from the US Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) paints a remarkably bullish picture http://www.nrdc.org/media/2008/080909.asp of two million jobs being created over two years with a $100 billion green investment programme. Costing not much more than the Federal Reserve Bank is currently spending on bailing out a single company – AIG – the programme would be paid for by auctioning carbon permits.
Of course, as a not-for-profit organisation ‘dedicated to protecting public health and the environment’, NRDC does have its own agenda, however laudable that may be. As green issues become ever more urgent for business, it won’t be the last such claim, and the need for a cadre of people able to source and assess such reports is likely to grow.
Indeed, it’s here already. According to another new report, from IT consultant Gartner, http://digbig.com/4xnfc users are becoming increasingly confused about the issues and solutions surrounding green IT.
Despite the NRDC report’s espousal of carbon trading, Gartner says that people are unclear about whether carbon trading programmes will become the norm, or whether it will be possible to recycle energy from data centres in a simple and cost-effective way. It also lists plenty of issues for companies that information professionals ought to be able to get their teeth into: green legislation and charge-back; behaviour change; videoconferencing; corporate social responsibility.
Whatever else results from the present financial crisis, it’s inevitable that governments are going to demand tighter regulation as the price of their intervention. Compliance has been a growing part of the financial information professional’s portfolio for some years; right now, adding green compliance to the mix looks like a shrewd move.
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