We discussed "greening" as an economic imperative. We did not discuss "greening" as a moral imperative. Does the CIO face moral imperatives beyond profit and the constrictions of law? What governs our corporate behavior really? Or do we get captured by the corporate ethos that shapes our morality?
Many people point to profit and compliance with the law as being the only two metrics that a business must operate under or at least that they're the main ones but they are certainly not the only ones and there are other "main" ones that should be conducted and operating with a greening strategy is certainly one of them. The tricky part is knowing how far one must go because the standards vary a lot from person to person even with the sustainability circuit.
The trick, and something that CIO must indeed follow through on, is to do whatever is reasonably possible to reduce the carbon footprint and general waste of a firm. For example, turning off utilities when not in direct use such as lights and air conditioning is a good start. Operating business in as much as a paperless fashion as possible is also wise. For example, doing electronic pay stubs and using PDF's instead of faxes are a good move. Hard copy should never be used unless it is needed.
Corporate behavior is governed by the law, our necessities and by our moral standards. The first two don't vary all that much but the latter can vary a great deal in size and scope. The idea of sustainability can be taken too far. Despite the moral concerns, there should be a balance between being responsible and being too aggressive. Sometimes printing must/should be done (e.g. contract signings) and sometimes it gets very hot outside. Employees (or clients) should not be made to suffer or be convenience in the name of saving a few trees or kilowatt hours of energy. However, whatever can reasonably be done to save and conserve energy and other resources is indeed a moral imperative on the part of a CIO, any other executive and even employees can spearhead (or at least help spearhead) efforts to conserve and use less.
CIO's and companies in general should heed the need for profit but not in a way that is seeded with avarice or lack of compassion. Corpoations may seem like mindless and faceless entities but they are made up of people and what a corporation does or leaves undone speaks volumes of the people that are within the corporation…the leaders in particular. However, it should be borne in mind that "greener" does not mean cheaper, but that does not preclude a firm from doing it (Rosenwald, 2010).
2. If the CIO adopts "sustainability" as a strategy, to what resources does he direct his attention?
There are two main directions that a CIO can go. The first direction would be general energy and consumption expenses such as utilities and office supplies and expenditures. Anything that can be done to shift the energy usage of a firm from fossil fuels to non-fossil fuels is a start as is less consumption in general. Using recycled office paper instead of paper from brand new growth is another method as is getting other office supplies that are from repurposed and/or recycled means. Shredding and recycling paper waste is yet another thing that can be done and many paper shredding services do this as a matter of course and they offer very reasonable rates.
The other main method that can and should be used was mentioned in the first answer and that is a re-tooling of how work is done on a daily basis and this includes human resources and payroll administration with the employees themselves. Going to a direct-deposit only and electronic-only pay stub setup has a litany of benefits including no paper checks or stubs being necessary the vast majority of the time, money being in the bank even if inclement weather stifles or shutters the office on payday and there is little to no dissemination of materials and stubs necessary on a normal basis. The same can be done for HR policy manuals and acknowledgements through the use of a portal rather than a forest's worth of…