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  • Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

What passes for thought leadership
August 16, 2011 - 5:00pm

A white paper recently crossed my desk. Issued by TRIRIGA, a facilities management consulting outfit recently purchased by IBM, it purports to be based on a study conducted by the Gartner Group. The title is "Crossing the sustainability chasm: strategies and tactics to achieve sustainability goals."

Now, Greenback U manages a whole lot of its own facilities, and we have sustainability goals, and if there are tactics (much less strategies) that will help us to attain those by crossing the sustainability chasm (whatever that is), I sure wanted to know about them.

But then I started reading the paper. It's twenty pages long. I didn't make it through the twenty pages. I barely made it through three.

Turns out that Gartner's major finding (after surveying 130 corporate sustainability professionals) is that corporations can be divided into three camps: "Achievers" have established energy reduction goals and achieved at least some of them. "Planners" have established energy reduction goals but not yet hit any of their targets. "Stragglers" have no energy reduction goals worth mentioning. The "sustainability chasm", so-called, is what separates Achievers from Planners.

And I was sort of OK with that. I mean, given two related milestones (setting goals, attaining goals), it's pretty much self-evident that any relevant population can be broken down into those who have achieved both, those who have achieved only one, and those who have achieved neither. But if there are strategies and tactics that contribute to achievement of both, I still wanted to know what they are.

Or I thought I did.

Then I read them.

Abbreviating only slightly, the trumpeted strategies and tactics boil down to:

  • get top management buy-in
  • get organization-wide involvement
  • establish sustainability (or at least energy efficiency) as a top priority
  • spend money on it, and plan to spend more
  • measure your progress
  • "utilize enterprise-class technology"

The first five of those "strategies" (unless, in fact, they're "tactics" -- I couldn't be quite sure) go without saying as how anybody gets pretty much anything done in any organization. (At least in theory. Viral tactics can work, too, but that would be a totally different white paper.) Which means that the whole purpose of the white paper was to set the stage for the sixth strategy/tactic.

Enterprise-class technology.

I did mention that TRIRIGA was recently purchased by IBM, didn't I?


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