Friday, 6 February 2009

Report - The Next Wave of Green IT

CFO Research Services has collaborated with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu on a report entitled The Next Wave of Green IT. It's based on a survey that had over 350 responses, mostly senior management, with the majority from the US but also Europe (28%) and Asia (16%).

The responses are quite interesting, although as with many surveys I've seen it's not always clear what's meant by Green IT, i.e. is it just the greening of the IT operation itself or does it include using IT to help 'green' the rest of the organisation? I think both are implied, but it's not clear in some of the survey questions and responses. The other issue is, of course, what constitutes a 'green' action, as opposed to improving efficiency and saving energy costs. A survey that explores these issues in more detail would make a significant contribution to defining the market. (If any readers are interested in pursuing this line of enquiry then The Green IT Report can certainly help - give me a call).

Anyway, one interesting chart in the report is that information and expertise are the main barriers to Green IT. The inability to make the business case and carry it through were much more likely to be reasons for not implementing Green IT than the lack of technology.



Another area that caught my eye is the extent to which various company stakeholders are concerned about the environmental impact of their business. The conclusion drawn from the responses is that those who are closest to and most responsible for managing the risk of environmental impact are most concerned, whereas other stakeholders (customers, employees and shareholders) are less likely to be concerned because they are more distant.



I think this is a little misguided. My view is that the first people to raise the issue tend to be customers, shareholders and employees (probably in that order). Management simply responds to those concerns. What bothers me about this chart is that with around 45% of each of these groups of stakeholders being seen as concerned about the issues it only translates to less than 60% concerned at board level. You would think it would create more of a stir.

There's more in the report, including differences between the US, Europe and the rest of the world, areas of Green IT investment, broader CSR issues, etc. The full report is here.


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