Green IT And More (Part I) – Gearing Up to Go Green

You can use IT to reduce your organisation’s environmental impact while also bringing commercial benefits – in the first of a series of articles, David Tebbutt explains how.

Other articles in the series:
Green IT And More (Part II) – Cleaning Up IT
Green IT And More (Part III) – Greening Your Organisation
Green IT And More (Part IV) – Changing Staff Attitudes and Taking Action

The computer industry impacts the environment during the manufacturing, delivery, operation and end-of-life of its devices. This four-part series will give you some pointers for how you can decrease that impact. At the same time, IT can help other parts of your organisation to become more environmentally friendly, in the areas of transport, energy and more. We hope that you’ll feel inspired to put some of the ideas into action – it’s easier than you think!

We will set out the opportunities to reduce your environmental impact through the use of IT. We cover ways in which information and communications technologies can support a greener way of working and how IT itself can minimise its impact on the environment.

We assume that you fall into one of these categories:

  • You hold a senior position in an organisation (whether large, medium or small) and are wondering how to maintain or even improve performance while following a more sustainable environmental agenda.
  • You hold a senior position in the IT department and are wondering how to reduce your energy consumption, your general environmental impact and help the organisation meet its environmental goals.
  • You’re a concerned employee who feels that your organisation could do more for the environment.

The first article will explore what motivates organisations to go green, and what IT’s role is in that change. In the second, we will share ideas for how IT itself can go greener. The third part will show how IT can help the rest of your organisation clean up its act. And the final part will take a look at practical steps you and your organisation can take towards a more sustainable future. It will also contain a list of websites for further reading, tips and inspiration.

Gearing Up to Go Green

You can barely move at the moment without being urged to make green changes to your lifestyle.

And, at one level, doing so is very straightforward. It’s relatively easy to cut travel, recycle your newspapers and glass or take a shower instead of a bath. And, indeed, the accumulated environmental impact of such actions is considerable. But, while these choices may be second nature to you as an individual, research conducted by Freeform Dynamics among almost 1,500 information professionals worldwide suggests that few organisations are motivated by green issues for their own sake (see Figure 1-1).


Figure 1-1: Drivers of environmental initiatives.