Green IT - A profound economic challenge
There's now broad scientific consensus that we need to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 80% by the middle of this century if we are to stabilise current world temperatures. And, if no action is taken, the implications are unthinkable . . . greenhouse gases double pre-industrial levels as early as 2035, average temperature increase of over 2 °C, with more than a 50% chance that the temperature could exceed 5°C . . . equivalent to the change in average temperatures from the last ice age to today . . . now that is unthinkable.
Why this is happening might still be up for debate, but the fact that this now represents a very real challenge is undeniable.
For our collective part the technology industries are responding . . . and Green is now very firmly the currency of choice. This greening of technology probably owes as much to money as it does to saving the planet. At the corporate level data centre costs have soared. NCC's 2008 Green Survey highlighted energy cost savings as the key driver 67%, interestingly the reputational value of being seen to be green was also a key driver for 58%.
Green IT remains a very, very complex issue - a tangle of technology, power consumption versus costs, geo-politics, brand leveraging, board pressure and consumer perception. Some organisations are making progress, good progress . . . and without any adverse impact on business performance or profitability.
But, as all NCC green events and discussion forums throughout 2008 highlighted - most are still yet to grab this issue and run with it, now further compounded by the global recession. Attitudes towards Green IT are in no way cynical, but the undeniable sense when IT decision makers congregate is that green business drivers will never top profitability as the key business driver. The adoption of new green technologies remains overwhelmingly driven by the bottom line. All too often there is an acute awareness that the green imperatives need to be underpinned by a cost-cutting agenda, with measures designed to reduce IT's power consumption, drive business efficiency and leverage the value of technology - 'eco-efficiency' and 'profit' are no longer considered mutually exclusive.
It's easy to get carried away by the green wave, it can look suspiciously like a fad, a bubble that's going to burst, but adoption is slowly and steadily ramping up - it looks like a sustainable trend. Green IT is as a 'profound economic challenge' and becoming increasingly embedded in organisations.
However, for most Green IT is more a challenge of changing processes and human behaviours and less about a challenge at which technology can be thrust.
NCC Head of Content
(ITadviser, Issue 57, Spring 2009)
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Dear Editor, During this period of economic recession, I believe that many organisations pushing cosmetic green initiatives down the agenda are going to fail to drive these through as financial and trading pressures build. Corporate social responsibility is something that needs to be consistent if it's going to be ... read more..
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