Wed, Oct
2 New Articles

Going Green Is Good!

  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

This is one company's story about transitioning to an environmentally aware company.

By Dan Forster

Ours was a typical office as offices go. Free coffee or tea in Styrofoam cups, copier with sorter, printers everywhere, bottled water in the staff kitchen fridge, which was also replete with Styrofoam containers of forgotten leftover meals. And a staff completely oblivious to the impact they make on our environment.


What's wrong with this picture? Nothing, if it were a few years ago. But today it's different. The debate over global warming (the more correct phrase is climate change) has turned to discussions of how much to do, how soon, and how much will it cost us. This is generating important discussions in the boardrooms of many of the largest companies in the world about how they can both contribute to and benefit from this new trend.


Last November in Bali, Indonesia, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (Bali Conference) updated the Kyoto Protocol international treaty, and all major powers have signed it. The race is now on to slow, then stop, and then reverse deadly emissions flooding into our atmosphere.


We are a close-knit group of professionals at inFORM Decisions (IFD). Last year, we made the decision to go with virtual offices. Now most of us work at home with occasional forays into the office. So it was an easy step to take our small organization beyond our extended company walls and commit to making both the office environment and the IT functions green.


The first thing we did was draw up a Green Manifesto, which you can see on our Web site's IFD Green Page, to document what we wanted to do in 2008. It outlines some easy changes that had little effect on our daily lives. Other changes affected us a bit more. And some changes we weren't prepared to make just yet. Some changes affected our private lives and families, while others were limited to our office environment.

Commitment #1: Pitch the Plastic

The plastic items we eliminated included water bottles, knives and forks, Styrofoam containers, disposable drinking glasses, and coffee stirrers. Recycling plastic bottles can keep the 40 million plastic bottles produced in the U.S. alone from heading to the dump.

Commitment #2: Kill the Commute

We made a decision to telecommute, working out of our homes, and to keep a small office available for occasional meetings.

Commitment #3: Choose a Conservation Organization

We selected a short list of environmental organizations to support from the many organizations helping to protect our planet. Since inFORM Decisions is involved in technologies that save the destruction of trees, our attention was on organizations that focus on saving trees. Among these, the Arbor Day Foundation, the Nature Conservancy, and Conservation International were our favorites.

Commitment #4: Cut the Power

We are more vigilant about keeping lights turned off. We turn off all those electronic wait states that silently suck power by controlling them via power strips. IBM recently announced a new generation of servers and storage as part of their Project Big Green, and we're presently researching our IBM Partnership to see how we can get involved in IBM's Green Data Centers.  Much of what's being written about saving the environment is directly tied to reducing power usage to reduce the demand for petroleum.

Commitment #5: Go with Green Guys

We decided to work with vendors that operated with some level of ecological awareness, even if just a little. Our laser printer operations now work with vendors of biodegradable inks, recyclable toner cartridges, and paper made from recycled fiber. Pursuing recycling programs with our vendors and customers not only saves them money, but also makes a valuable contribution to minimizing our landfills.

Commitment #6: Change Mindset, Change Habits

The most challenging aspect of going green is changing our thinking and our habits. If we can influence our staff, our vendors, and our customers, even a little, the impact can be significant. Our staff members are continually on the lookout for new opportunities to help preserve scarce or threatened plant, animal, and mineral resources. Starting a recycling program with other people in your office building (or neighborhood, if you're working virtually) is a good example. For those of us living here in Southern California, carpooling not only improves quality of life, but also makes a huge contribution to eliminating carbon emissions (plus it reduces our traffic!).

Commitment #7: Preach Going Paperless

We have made the somewhat risky decision to invest dollars to alter and increase our advertising message that utilizing "paperless" technologies like the ones our company develops will not only save a company time and money, but also reduce the harvesting of our valuable resources. This change to our message, our presentations, our white papers, and our general outreach to the IT community costs money, so we're hoping this valuable message resonates with our present and future clientele.


Going paperless is a financially and environmentally sound decision; it's really greening your bottom line.

Commitment #8: Green the IT

We replaced older PCs and monitors in our server room with newer Energy Star equipment running on Intel processors and increased our AC setting from 68°F to 73°F. We also replaced our aging AS/400 170 and 270 models with a single System i Model 820 with multiple LPARs. Then we replaced our aging analog phone system and hardware with a VOIP computer-based phone system hosted remotely. The result: Our electric bill shrank by 17.5  percent.

Go Green!

Any company with a desire to be a positive force in the fight against climate change can join the green movement. You will be in good company. Check out Chevron's climate change action plan, Delta Airlines' Force for Global Good, and Bank of America's "go paperless" program.


From our perspective, if we can inspire "green thinking" in our staff and some of our customers, then we've done some good. Check out our Web site's IFD Green Page, where we offer our conservation philosophy and a host of annotated links to help you green your office, IT group, company, and home. If you have an idea for our Green Page, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and we'll post it with proper credit to the author.


I'm sure you'll discover that going green has both expected and unexpected financial rewards along with the satisfaction of being in the Mother of all Battles, the one to save our planet.

Dan Forster

Dan Forster is president of inFORM Decisions, a company he founded in 1994 after working 20 years with producers of other leading electronic document management solutions. Dan was part of a team that introduced IBM midrange users to the first implementations of AS/400 laser form, check, and printer connectivity solutions in the mid-1980s. His company, inFORM Decisions, was one of the first to implement a comprehensive iSeries host-based e-document distribution system powered by intelligent routing capabilities for fax, email, archive-retrieve, and laser forms. inFORM Decisions' iSeries document management solutions address the costs and inefficiencies of paper based business workflow. Dan can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.709.5838 x102.








Support MC Press Online

$0.00 Raised:

Book Reviews

Resource Center

  • SB Profound WC 5536 Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application. You can find Part 1 here. In Part 2 of our free Node.js Webinar Series, Brian May teaches you the different tooling options available for writing code, debugging, and using Git for version control. Brian will briefly discuss the different tools available, and demonstrate his preferred setup for Node development on IBM i or any platform. Attend this webinar to learn:

  • SB Profound WP 5539More than ever, there is a demand for IT to deliver innovation. Your IBM i has been an essential part of your business operations for years. However, your organization may struggle to maintain the current system and implement new projects. The thousands of customers we've worked with and surveyed state that expectations regarding the digital footprint and vision of the company are not aligned with the current IT environment.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT Generic IBM announced the E1080 servers using the latest Power10 processor in September 2021. The most powerful processor from IBM to date, Power10 is designed to handle the demands of doing business in today’s high-tech atmosphere, including running cloud applications, supporting big data, and managing AI workloads. But what does Power10 mean for your data center? In this recorded webinar, IBMers Dan Sundt and Dylan Boday join IBM Power Champion Tom Huntington for a discussion on why Power10 technology is the right strategic investment if you run IBM i, AIX, or Linux. In this action-packed hour, Tom will share trends from the IBM i and AIX user communities while Dan and Dylan dive into the tech specs for key hardware, including:

  • Magic MarkTRY the one package that solves all your document design and printing challenges on all your platforms. Produce bar code labels, electronic forms, ad hoc reports, and RFID tags – without programming! MarkMagic is the only document design and print solution that combines report writing, WYSIWYG label and forms design, and conditional printing in one integrated product. Make sure your data survives when catastrophe hits. Request your trial now!  Request Now.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericForms of ransomware has been around for over 30 years, and with more and more organizations suffering attacks each year, it continues to endure. What has made ransomware such a durable threat and what is the best way to combat it? In order to prevent ransomware, organizations must first understand how it works.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericIT security is a top priority for businesses around the world, but most IBM i pros don’t know where to begin—and most cybersecurity experts don’t know IBM i. In this session, Robin Tatam explores the business impact of lax IBM i security, the top vulnerabilities putting IBM i at risk, and the steps you can take to protect your organization. If you’re looking to avoid unexpected downtime or corrupted data, you don’t want to miss this session.

  • SB HelpSystems ROBOT GenericCan you trust all of your users all of the time? A typical end user receives 16 malicious emails each month, but only 17 percent of these phishing campaigns are reported to IT. Once an attack is underway, most organizations won’t discover the breach until six months later. A staggering amount of damage can occur in that time. Despite these risks, 93 percent of organizations are leaving their IBM i systems vulnerable to cybercrime. In this on-demand webinar, IBM i security experts Robin Tatam and Sandi Moore will reveal:

  • FORTRA Disaster protection is vital to every business. Yet, it often consists of patched together procedures that are prone to error. From automatic backups to data encryption to media management, Robot automates the routine (yet often complex) tasks of iSeries backup and recovery, saving you time and money and making the process safer and more reliable. Automate your backups with the Robot Backup and Recovery Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAManaging messages on your IBM i can be more than a full-time job if you have to do it manually. Messages need a response and resources must be monitored—often over multiple systems and across platforms. How can you be sure you won’t miss important system events? Automate your message center with the Robot Message Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAThe thought of printing, distributing, and storing iSeries reports manually may reduce you to tears. Paper and labor costs associated with report generation can spiral out of control. Mountains of paper threaten to swamp your files. Robot automates report bursting, distribution, bundling, and archiving, and offers secure, selective online report viewing. Manage your reports with the Robot Report Management Solution. Key features include:

  • FORTRAFor over 30 years, Robot has been a leader in systems management for IBM i. With batch job creation and scheduling at its core, the Robot Job Scheduling Solution reduces the opportunity for human error and helps you maintain service levels, automating even the biggest, most complex runbooks. Manage your job schedule with the Robot Job Scheduling Solution. Key features include:

  • LANSA Business users want new applications now. Market and regulatory pressures require faster application updates and delivery into production. Your IBM i developers may be approaching retirement, and you see no sure way to fill their positions with experienced developers. In addition, you may be caught between maintaining your existing applications and the uncertainty of moving to something new.

  • LANSAWhen it comes to creating your business applications, there are hundreds of coding platforms and programming languages to choose from. These options range from very complex traditional programming languages to Low-Code platforms where sometimes no traditional coding experience is needed. Download our whitepaper, The Power of Writing Code in a Low-Code Solution, and:

  • LANSASupply Chain is becoming increasingly complex and unpredictable. From raw materials for manufacturing to food supply chains, the journey from source to production to delivery to consumers is marred with inefficiencies, manual processes, shortages, recalls, counterfeits, and scandals. In this webinar, we discuss how:

  • The MC Resource Centers bring you the widest selection of white papers, trial software, and on-demand webcasts for you to choose from. >> Review the list of White Papers, Trial Software or On-Demand Webcast at the MC Press Resource Center. >> Add the items to yru Cart and complet he checkout process and submit

  • Profound Logic Have you been wondering about Node.js? Our free Node.js Webinar Series takes you from total beginner to creating a fully-functional IBM i Node.js business application.

  • SB Profound WC 5536Join us for this hour-long webcast that will explore:

  • Fortra IT managers hoping to find new IBM i talent are discovering that the pool of experienced RPG programmers and operators or administrators with intimate knowledge of the operating system and the applications that run on it is small. This begs the question: How will you manage the platform that supports such a big part of your business? This guide offers strategies and software suggestions to help you plan IT staffing and resources and smooth the transition after your AS/400 talent retires. Read on to learn: