Green IT policies delivering scant benefit

Gap between ‘going green’ and demonstrable energy savings raises questions over the current value of supposed ‘green’ activities

Research from value-added distributor Bell Micro has found that for UK businesses which have implemented green IT policies only a fifth the median for energy saved is just 10%.

The survey of 350 senior IT managers across firms of all sizes has indicated that there is a clear disconnect between ‘going green’ and demonstrable energy savings. The finding that major energy savings of over 50% are completely absent in larger organisations, raises questions over the current value of supposed ‘green’ activities, Bell Micro suggested.

Of the 21% of organisations with a green IT policy, only 12% quantified any energy savings as a result of the green IT initiatives they have embarked on. Nearly a fifth (fifth (19%) said it is too early to tell and two-thirds admit that they do not know what energy savings have been made; 4% admit none have been made yet.

However, nearly two-thirds (62%) of organisations interviewed for the research did recognise that savings could be made in the long run from green IT initiatives, and 89% of those without a current green IT policy thought that significant energy savings in the IT department alone could be made by introducing measures that will lead to greener IT behaviour.

For those organisations with a green IT policy, tangible savings were recorded almost equally across SMEs (14%) and large organisations (12%). Among those who quantified their energy savings - ranging from 2% to 90% - the median figure was just 10%. The value of adopting a green approach therefore remains inconclusive for the majority of companies that have made efforts to embrace an environmentally aware IT policy, said Antony Young, Director of Services, Security and Networking Divisions at Bell Micro

“What these figures are telling us is that Green IT still has a long way to go if it is to deliver real operational savings and therefore be more widely accepted. It is encouraging that businesses are recognising the need to embrace a greener approach to the day to day operational running of a company, but for those few that have engaged with green IT, these latest findings should be ringing alarm bells. A green IT policy is not just an ethical decision; it also should address the bottom line, providing demonstrable savings against operational costs.”

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