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Employee computing emissions measured by only one-third of enterprises, Citrix research suggests

Many large companies in the UK are not measuring the greenhouse gas emissions from employee computing, with just a quarter of managers viewing IT sustainability as a top priority for their organisation

Only one-third of large companies in the UK measure greenhouse gas emissions created by employee computing, according to a new survey from virtualisation software provider Citrix.

The firm compiled the survey by speaking to 500 UK-based knowledge workers in managerial roles at companies employing more than 250 people, to explore the extent to which organisations are considering their impact on the environment.

According to the survey, 60% of large UK businesses have a specific corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainability strategy in place for IT, which includes strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

Despite this, just 28% of managerial knowledge workers in large UK businesses consider IT sustainability to be a top priority for their business beyond meeting the relevant mandatory reporting or regulatory requirements.

The figures also reveal that just over one-third (37%) of these companies actively measure greenhouse gas emissions created by employee computing.

“Anthropogenic interference has already caused a 1° C rise in global temperature,” said Michelle Senecal de Fonseca, area vice-president for Northern Europe at Citrix. “With no time to lose, every business in every industry must think about how they can reduce carbon emissions, improve sustainability and embrace greener practices by default.”

Within the overall figures, the telecoms sector performed the best, with 70% of organisations confirming that employee computing emissions are measured.

Only 43% of technology companies, 19% of healthcare companies and 15% of utilities companies could say the same.

In terms of local government organisations with 250 or more employees, just 40% measured the emissions.

In their responses to Citrix, managerial IT workers cited a number of constraints within large companies that have stopped them building more sustainable IT models.

Lack of time, board-level support and employee pushback to IT changes were cited as the most significant barriers by 33%, 21% and 20% of respondents, respectively, but the biggest barrier cited was budget constraints at 48%.

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Senecal de Fonseca said that if organisations reviewed their existing IT infrastructure and properly evaluated their efficiency, they would soon realise they could reduce their environmental impact by transitioning workloads from on-premise datacentres to more efficient hyper-scale hosted cloud services.

“However, embracing a more flexible working culture – underpinned by the cloud – will likely have the most far-reaching consequences,” she said.

“The ability to work anywhere and from any device means lower commuting emissions and the freedom to work from devices that consume up to 90% less energy than a standard PC, such as a Google Chromebook or Apple laptop. By embracing this kind of approach, UK businesses can reduce their carbon footprint, while benefiting from happier staff and improved productivity.”

In the Citrix survey, 31% of respondents said they believe IT departments can have more of an impact than any other department in reducing carbon emissions, improving sustainability and driving widespread change across the whole business.

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