Monday, 6 July 2009

Public sector failing on green IT

I've made the point several times in the last year that the UK public sector has been slow to lead the way in going green, particularly since the government has enacted the first national legislation on climate change.

The slowness is somewhat reflected in the attitude to green IT, which has gained some recognition and momentum at the heart of government (the Cabinet Office CIO Council, with the Greening Government ICT report) but this has not seem to have been translated into any universal policy changes or been transmitted out to the wider public sector (I guess because public spending is now an issue in the UK and takes priority).

Anyway, Global Action Plan, the UK organisation dedicated to helping companies go green, has released a survey-based report called 'The Path to Greener Government', which also makes the point.

The full report is here, but some of the key points include:

• Overall 60% of respondents were not aware of the Government’s Greening ICT Strategy. In fact 41% of national government respondents were not aware of the strategy even though it specifically covers their area of activity.

• 67% of respondents that are aware of the Greening Government ICT Strategy are concerned or extremely concerned that targets contained within the report will be difficult to achieve.

• According to the survey findings, only 16% of respondents are currently sharing knowledge and learning with other public sector organisations in order to achieve their targets.

In terms of implementing a greener ICT approach, the report reveals that:

• only 20% of responding ICT departments pay for some or all of their organisations’ energy.

• Only 13% of respondents calculate the carbon footprint of their ICT activities.

• Only 22% of respondents have set internal green ICT targets.

• 39% of respondents are not aware of the percentage utilisation of their server estate

It's not all bad, for example take-up of server optimisation, decommissioning idle server equipment and reusing equipment is high (between 59%-69% implementation across all respondents). Nonetheless, there's a awful lot still to do.

© The Green IT Review

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