Fewer than half of all organisations know how much power their IT and communications infrastructures consume - and far fewer itemise the cost of power in their IT budgets.
A report from IT service provider Fujitsu revealed a lack of visibility of energy consumption as the main reason businesses are failing to become more energy-efficient.
Fujitsu surveyed 1,000 companies in Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, the UK and the USA in its study: ICT Sustainability: The Global Benchmark Report.
Alison Rowe, Fujitsu's global executive director of sustainability, said some of the buzz has gone from green ICT. "Many organisations have reached a plateau with ICT sustainability. They may have tackled the easy initiatives, such as PC power management or telecommuting, but the problem is that even these have declined in performance.
"The survey reveals that the single most important reason ICT departments don't prioritise ICT sustainability, or feel they have a compelling reason to do so, is the lack of visibility of ICT power consumption. Until this data can be quantified, change cannot be measured and successes cannot be recognised."
IT departments are not alone in facing major challenges in reducing energy consumption. Companies such as Fujitsu face power challenges as cloud uptake increases the use of datacentres. The survey found that, on average, UK organisations performed above the global average.
In June this year sustainable business analyst firm Verdantix revealed the results of a benchmarking survey. It showed only a small group of IT suppliers will actually reduce their energy consumption, despite carbon emission reduction targets.
It found that IT service providers are united in their attempt to reduce carbon footprints on paper, with corporate targets to support them. But despite putting a lot of energy into the cause, their power consumption is rising, according to the benchmarking study.
The explosion in demand for datacentre services means suppliers are increasingly inheriting customer energy consumption as part of outsourcing deals, so IT suppliers are attempting to meet targets through other means.
Verdantix also recently surveyed the carbon reduction and energy strategies of internet and social networking giants and revealed a major lack of transparency.