EU is moving towards Green IT but there are still bridges to cross

The European public sector is still in the early stages of adopting green IT and should be incorporating this into its overall strategy, analyst group Ovum has told us.

Sarah Burnett, a senior analyst, told us that “progress had been made” in this sector, however, public sector organisations are not yet strategically and developing green IT within their overall structure.

She said this could lead to an initiative that gets the ball rolling in one department but then offsetting it in another department by completely ignoring green initiatives. Essentially, with many EU organisations, one limb is working to keep the body moving towards an ecologically sound institute, but others are locking up and refusing to move. Efforts need to be made to convince executives and move organically towards energy efficiency. 

The advice from Ovum follows a collaboration between the analysts and Dell last month, where the two worked together to produce a whitepaper, written by Ms Burnett, looking into the European Union and national government policies and initiatives, as well as interviewing  IT managers and other contacts within the European public sector to find out their green IT initiatives.

Amongst other things the whitepaper said: “On the face of it, there is a growing list of business drivers for green IT, but they are failing to compel executives to action.”

One example was the cost of power, which grows along with population and demand in both developed and developing economies. However, Burnett said Green IT isn’t being recognised as much as it should be. Burnett told TechEye:

“Green IT is a consideration in many of the people we spoke to and although the majority of our contacts believed that it was very important to reduce greenhouse gases to save the planet, they also believed that reducing costs was equally if not more important.

“This indicates that green IT for the sake of the planet by itself is not considered enough of a driver for change. It has to make business sense and deliver monetary value if it is to be widely adopted.”

One thing that has to be considered is the long term monetary gains efforts to be more green can go to. By making changes in infrastructure, organisations will have to bite the first bullet but eventually less will have to be spent on power and clean-up operations.

However, Burnett told us that some are putting ideas into place. At a basic level this includes setting up remote working for staff  in order to save on unnecessary travel. She also said some companies could look at their supply chain in order to minimise the number of unnecessary deliveries.

Other basic options for companies to consider include using products with the Energy Star logo, which signifies that an appliance will not exceed a specified level of energy consumption in standby mode and adhering to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which is designed to minimise the impact of electrical and electronic goods on the environment by promoting more reuse and recycling of goods and reducing the amount of WEEE going onto landfill sites.

If you cast your mind back to just the beginning of the year you will remember Dell has taken a lot of flak from ecologically concerned groups, and rightly so. However it makes sense for Dell to have partnered with Ovum on the whitepaper – the amount of scrutiny and quick thinking Dell has had to make after what some would call irresponsible ecological management has forced it into climbing the charts and becoming one of the more green-fingered companies in the technology space.