Green IT works for the environment, and the bottom line

CIOs need to start going green, not just for the eco-benefits, but also for the bottom line.

Green IT is a growing global phenomenon, with customers now seeking out IT vendors whose offerings are more energy-efficient, more material-efficient, less hazardous, designed for greater recyclability, and supported by end-of-life recycling programs, according to IDC's green IT research team.

Another researcher group, Forrester, recently completed its third survey of enterprise IT professionals to understand the state of green IT awareness and adoption in corporate computing. The survey showed continuing advancement of both awareness and activity, but the adoption of green IT varied significantly by geography and industry. Vendor strategists positioning their products and their firms to capture enterprises' growing green mindshares must tune their messaging to match these important variables.

Vendors have been reasonably successful in establishing a mindshare among customers and prospects in enterprise IT organisations. Green issues are a big part of an organisation's day-to-day operation and affect a wide range of enterprise activities. Mid-market CIOs also need to start going green, not just for the eco-benefits, but also for the bottom line.

Australians can now make a tangible and easy difference to our environment - on a national and global scale - by turning off their computers, according to Mark Winter, founder of Computers Off Australia. The campaign and labelling initiative was officially launched in Sydney last week to encourage Australians to implement power management practices on their computers at home and in the workplace, and in doing so, save carbon emissions and our planet. This not-for-profit initiative supports an industry-wide target to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in Australia's energy efficiency by 2010.

The Climate Savers Computing Initiative (CSCI) consortium consisting of virtually every major player in the PC industry (AMD, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Google, Intel, Sun, Lenovo, and many others) recently entered into a strategic collaboration with the Green IT Promotion Council to facilitate co-operation on accelerating the adoption of measures in dealing with climate change in Japan and worldwide.

The intense power requirements needed to run and cool data centres now account for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emission from ICT. Although the future compares favourably with the 40 per cent of emissions from PCs and monitors, it is much more concentrated and rising more quickly, Gartner said in a research advisory session.

All vendors have a major role in further spreading the green promotion message (green IT in the design, operation, and/or disposal of their products). This percentage has almost doubled in the past year from 15 to 37 per cent according to the recent Forrester report. The biggest challenge for vendors is to reach effectively the customers that are environmentally conscious, noted the report.

Sustainability officers, chief green officers, or other similar titles no matter what we call them are becoming popular as many more companies start to paint themselves green. According to a recent report in "green collar" workers will be needed for everything from the research, design, and engineering of new systems to the manufacture, installation, and maintenance of clean-tech investments. The next generation will be building green.

Len Rust is publisher of The Rust Report

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