UK Organisations Reveal “Green IT” Plans


Lloyd’s of London, John Lewis and Defra have discussed sustainable approaches to tech

Retail company John Lewis is running Unix machines at around 80 percent utilisation rates allowing it use around half to a third of the number of servers compared to other companies, according to research.

The retailer is just one of the UK organisations that contributed to a report released this week by consultants Deloitte and CFO Research Services. The study, The Next Wave of Green IT, examines sustainable approaches to IT at around 350 large organisations with revenues of £300m to more than £7bn in Europe, North America and China.

The report revealed that 32 percent of respondents had a formal “green IT” policy in place, while a further 34 percent are planning tsimilar approaches later this year.

Around two thirds of companies have set aside at least 5 percent of their IT budget for green IT projects, with 36 percent claiming to have allocated 15 percent, and 14 percent planning to spend 25 percent of their budgets on sustainable approaches to tech.

“As a major consumer of electricity and producer of waste electronics, the IT department was one of the first business functions to be scrutinised and then forced to improve its efficiency and lessen its environmental impact. IT typically produces 2 percent of an organisation’s CO2, now it will have to turn its attention to the remaining 98 per cent,” said John Winstanley, associate partner at Deloitte and head of its green IT consulting practice.

One finding that will encourage green tech experts is the news that 46 percent of the businesses surveyed by Deloitte charge the cost of electricity for IT directly back to departments thereby increasing accountability for its usage. Making departments – particularly the IT department – more aware of energy costs is seen as key to helping reinforce sustainable IT procurement, deployment and management.

Chris Chant, chief information officer at the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), another respondent to the survey, claimed that there has been little resistance to adopting more sustainable approaches to IT in the government department. “This is not a difficult business change selling point, you know? When we say to people, ‘Only one device per user, because of the green situation’, they get it, and they want to help with that. I’ve been delighted with that.”

Other companies that are making use of sustainable and green IT practices include Caterpillar, a US manufacturer of earth moving and construction equipment. According to Deloitte, the company is using computer modelling to improve the efficiency of its supply chain, manufacturing, distribution and transportation.

US chip maker Intel has diverted heat produced by servers and redirected it to warm its company cafeteria and the restroom water supply, according to Deloitte.