Green IT as a cost cutting process for Information Technology departments is gaining momentum. There are at least two conferences scheduled in the United States this year, that list Green IT implementation as major topics of discussion. Why Green IT?
Well, the main reason that businesses are interested in pursuing a Green IT strategy now is to reduce costs. Many analysts are projecting an increase in IT spending over the next year and CIO’s view green spending as a wise expenditure.
According to a 2009 article in the McKinsey Quarterly, over 25% of the 444 executives contacted in an on-line survey indicated that they were going to increase their spending on Green IT. Fifty percent of these executives indicated that despite the recession, they were not going to decrease their Green IT spending.
In an on-line special report Bloomberg Businessweek stated that Green IT is:
…clearly a motivating factor for the tech companies already pushing for more earth-saving IT policies
Implementing Green IT solutions saves money for private businesses and governmental agencies. It is estimated that the US Government could save about $330 million over five years using Energy Star-rated PCs. Smaller companies can save at between $25 and $75 on power bills per PC per year by turning off desktops that are not in use.
Microsoft has a Green IT web page with the headlines “Green is good for your bottom line”. Microsoft touts “environmental sustainability and financial sustainability are not mutually exclusive.” It even includes calculators on the web page that can be used by customers to calculate green energy savings.
Companies like Honda, Continental Airlines, Suncor, Goldman Sachs and Hewlett-Packard have all implemented Green IT solutions. In 2008 IBM CEO Samuel J. Palmisano recommended to a newly elected President Obama that all federal data centers be required to go green within three years.
In Green Computing’s 2009 Worldwide Green IT Report, Jose Iglesia, Vice President of Symantec Global Solutions, stated that companies view implementing Green IT solutions as essential. Iglesia went on to say:
…One of the reasons that budgets are increasing is because the typical respondent is paying $21 to 27 million per year in electricity use, …so going after reducing the electricity consumption will pay for itself.”
All of the respondents to the Symantec survey indicated that they had at least been discussing Green IT strategy. Forty-five percent of the companies surveyed had already begun to implement their strategies.
Let’s face it, despite many executives’ sincere concerns about saving the environment, the cost savings gained for implementing Green IT programs is an important driving factor. In most companies the energy cost for their Information Technology services is quite high. Reducing these costs can improve the bottom line and create jobs.
Green IT has also created a large number of consultant firms as well as other industry related companies. In the Information Technology world green has become big business.
Whether driven by ecological ethics or economic concerns, the fact is that with regard to the environment, Information Technology accounts for 2 percent of global CO2 emissions – the equivalent of the carbon output of the entire aviation industry. That percentage is derived by totaling the use of PCs, servers, cooling, local area network (LAN), office telecommunications and printers.
In 2007 Simon Mingay, Information Researcher at Gartner stated that:
During the next five years, increasing financial, environmental, legislative and risk-related pressures will force IT organizations to get ‘greener’; that is to say, more environmentally sustainable…
… Going green’ is no longer the reserve of a minority ‘doing the right thing’; it’s becoming an essential activity for all IT leaders…
Given the growing impact of information technology upon the world’s environment, it’s gratifying to report that IT firms are helping lead the way in the Green IT movement. In 2009 Newsweek published its first annual Green Rankings for the 500 most valuable companies in the United States. Rankings were based on environmental policies and their reputation among environmental experts and their peers. Each company’s rank was derived by combining their separate scores for Environmental Impact, Green Policies, and Reputation . Hewlett-Packard, Dell, Intel and IBM ranked in the top 5 for 2009.