Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It ain't easy being 'green'

With political leaders and even the UK's royal family paying lip service to reducing their carbon footprint, businesses appear to be struggling with how to reduce the carbon footprint of their energy intensive IT systems.

The UK Government has set a target of a 20% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2010, but what does this actually mean for business and IT managers? Recent news reports indicated that Prince Charles had reduced his travel carbon footprint by 9%, but how significant is that in terms of the overall reduction required to effectively combat the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the environment?

A recent survey conducted by the UK-based Green Technology Initiative found that whilst 90% of UK businesses felt that tackling the carbon footprint of IT systems was integral to an overall green strategy, 70% had no concrete plans in place to reduce their carbon emissions.

So whilst businesses may support the concept of 'greening' IT, there is no clear
cut guidance on how they can achieve that. The knowledge gap is clearly highlighted by the fact that 95% of survey respondents did not know how energy efficient their
IT systems were because they had no means of measuring it.

“What we are doing in IT today is not sustainable. Systems efficiency is the cheapest and easiest way of reducing the carbon footprint of the work you do and delivered properly it has the benefit of bringing down costs across the board. Whilst undoubtedly UK enterprises are willing to take action, many lack the incentive, knowledge and resources to make immediate changes,” says Dan Sutherland, founder and acting chair of the Green Technology Initiative.

When reducing a company's carbon emissions can be as simple as flicking a switch in terms of switching off systems that are not in use, it appears that firms are relying on software vendors, governments and manufacturers to take the lead without considering what they can do themselves to reduce their carbon emissions. More than 50% of respondents to Green Technology Initiative's survey had still not caught on to the idea of reducing power costs and energy consumption by turning off unused systems.

With so much media attention on high carbon emitters, it appears that the penny has not dropped in terms of how businesses in general can contribute to the battle to reduce carbon emissions without relatively little upfront investment.

No comments: