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Cambridge Enterprise recently signed up to the University’s Green Impact environmental accreditation scheme, which is part of the Cambridge Green Challenge initiative.

The University has set up the Cambridge Green Challenge in order to meet its commitment to reduce its environmental impact and its energy–related carbon emissions to absolute zero by 2048, with a steep 75% decrease on 2015 emissions by 2030.

The Green Impact scheme has been designed to support and encourage Departments and colleges across the University to play their part in helping to meet the University’s goal. With support from the Environment and Energy Section, Departments can set up a small team who sign up to an online workbook and progress through criteria towards recognised awards and targets.

Cambridge Enterprise has now been awarded the Bronze accreditation and has started working towards the Silver, with a longer term goal of ultimately achieving the Gold award.

Here we share a green initiative that is already underway at Cambridge Enterprise.

Reducing IT’s carbon footprint

Keeping track of, and reporting on the intellectual property that we manage – including the attendant cases, disclosures, contracts, licences, royalty agreements, documents and correspondence – is a massive task and one that’s central to our business.

Over the past couple of years we have worked hard to upgrade the IT systems that hold this data. In addition to ensuring it is secure and accessible, we have also sought to reduce the reliance upon ageing equipment on our premises at the Hauser Forum: kit that not only costs a small fortune to replace, but that represents a significant part of our carbon footprint.

The ultimate goal was retiring this equipment, but before the move, we introduced robust support models for critical systems and services, sourcing trusted external partners where appropriate. Now completed, the shift has allowed our small internal IT team to focus on supporting staff and strategic projects. Being cloud-based and therefore accessible from anywhere, It also proved to be particularly fortuitous once the lockdown started.

Document storage, email archives, device and user management, security, backups, and applications are all now safely in the cloud. The upshot is a total saving of the 15 kilowatts of electricity to power and keep cool the on-site IT, which is equivalent to 96 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

And in a further environmental footnote, all the old equipment has been taken to be repurposed as spares by the University’s Departments of Pathology and Biochemistry, the Fitzwilliam Museum and three colleges.