Auckland University of Technology

AUT taking strides in ICT sustainability

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is committed to taking action in light of local and global sustainability challenges. With 56 buildings housing computer equipment and thousands of users, AUT’s information and communications technology (ICT) is a significant contributor to AUT’s overall energy consumption and emissions footprint. That is why improving the sustainability of its ICT has become a key focus for the university.

Challenge

AUT is committed to its sustainability agenda and sees ICT as a major opportunity for improvement. It aims to achieve an ICT sustainability best practice score of over 75% by 2024.

Solution

  • Fujitsu conducted its sustainability benchmark for AUT in 2018 and 2021

  • Key areas ICT analysed were enablement, metrics, lifecycle, end user and enterprise
  • Short-, medium- and longer-term recommendations were made based on the findings

Outcomes

  • AUT’s 2018 ICT sustainability score of 55% increased to 71.3% in just three years
  • This is more than double the 31.9% national score for the education, health and welfare sector
  • By the next benchmark in 2024, AUT aims to exceed 75%
We have been very happy with the service that we’ve had from the Fujitsu team. Their sustainability work is based on good, solid methodology.

Liz Gosling, Chief Information Officer, Auckland University of Technology

71.3%

AUT score following 2021 Fujitsu ICT Sustainability Benchmark

Customer

Auckland University of Technology is the second largest university in Aotearoa (New Zealand). It was established in 2000 when the former 100-year-old technical college was granted university status and now ranks among the top 1% of universities worldwide, with over 29,000 students and 3,000 staff. With three main campuses, AUT incorporates five faculties, 16 schools and over 60 research centres and institutes.

Commitment to a sustainable future

As part of AUT‘s wider sustainability plan, it engaged Fujitsu in 2018 to undertake an ICT sustainability benchmark and suggest measures that would improve the sustainability of AUT’s ICT operations. “There aren’t many organisations that do this really well, but we found Fujitsu’s benchmarking and sustainability practice, talked to them, and had a look at some reports and benchmarks that they’ve done for other organisations. We were really impressed,” says Liz Gosling, Chief Information Officer at Auckland University of Technology. “AUT is committed to playing our part in creating a more sustainable world, and this partnership has allowed us to undertake important changes that are making a real difference.”

Fujitsu’s 2018 sustainability benchmark revealed that, with a score of 55%, AUT’s ICT sustainability score was higher than many other government and educational organisations in New Zealand and Australia. However, scores of 80% or above are considered best practice, so there was still room for improvement.

Benchmark score improvement of 16.3%

In 2021, AUT engaged Fujitsu for a second sustainability benchmark to assess how it had progressed and, after following Fujitsu’s prior recommendations, the university achieved a score of 71.3% - a 16.3% increase from 2018. This score was more than double the average 31.9% score of the New Zealand education, health and welfare sector.

The Fujitsu ICT Sustainability Benchmark focuses on five key areas to create a current state assessment of an organisation’s ICT sustainability. These are enablement, metrics, lifecycle, end user, and enterprise. To assess these, a series of interviews and surveys help create a current picture of the environment and highlight areas for improvement. The latest ICT sustainability benchmark done by Fujitsu shows that AUT has improved in all five of the key areas after implementing Fujitsu’s recommendations from its 2018 benchmarking assessment.

Action on Fujitsu recommendations

In line with the 2018 action list presented by Fujitsu, AUT’s sustainability actions have included moving to a new, world-class data centre with a better sustainability rating, and shifting many of its ecosystems to the cloud. AUT has also put greater emphasis on carbon reporting, specification and end-of-life treatment of its hardware, auditing e-waste providers, as well as educating its user community on sustainability and setting environmental targets for its supply chain.

Printing has also been a major focus area at AUT. In 2018, AUT had approximately 2,000 personal printers, some printing as little as 12 pages a year. These have since been replaced with 135 networked printers, saving waste from printer cartridges and improving the energy efficiency of its printing processes.

Future plans include putting Internet of Things (IoT) sensors in rooms to monitor if they are being used in an energy-efficient manner, and also looking at hot-desking and the design of new buildings. “We have been very happy with the service that we’ve had and the relationship with the Fujitsu team,” concludes Gosling. “The sustainability work that Fujitsu has been doing in this area is really good. It’s not too expensive and it’s based on good, solid methodology.”

Although AUT is now very close to best practice scores, it has already asked the Fujitsu team to return in 2024 when it hopes to exceed a score of 75%.

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