Friday, 14 March 2008

Market Drivers

At the Green IT Summit there was a panel session entitled Do companies Care? and speakers from Citigroup, the Royal Mail and Marks & Spencer all agreed that their companies really do care about the environment. They gave examples of what their organisations had done to be greener and how much money they had saved.

The italics are mine, because, of course, most companies don't care unless there is some benefit. Cost (or cost-benefit) was the main driver in these cases, although for Marks and Spencer there is also their reputation as a quality retailer to be maintained.

My point is that going green is not generally an altruistic move but rather the result of various pressures. At the moment saving money is the driver for projects that would, at some time, have been done anyway. Company reputation is also a factor, particularly for retail companies. But this will change.

I also had a discussion with Graham Whitney, Chairman of IBM's Climate Change Group in the UK earlier in the week and he has a chart on which he has plotted the various factors influencing the move to green - cost, reputation, stakeholders and legislation - showing how their influence will change. I don't necessarily agree with the detail of the chart (hopefully I can show it some time), but the main point is that regulation is going to become much more prominent before the market goes mainstream (although legislation will effectively result in cost pressure through some aspect of carbon pricing and trading).

Plotting this graph of influence also allows some assessment of market development. In the UK the Climate Change Bill currently going through Parliament will impact carbon emissions in 2010, so companies will need to be seriously thinking about the consequences in mid-2009. At that point it won't be the 'low-hanging fruit' that's the focus of attention, but more serious, long-term solutions that need IT support.

© The Green IT Review

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