Green IT Picks Up Steam
Green IT initiatives will take on added importance in the next few years as more organizations commit financial resources and develop comprehensive strategies, according to a recent study by CompTIA, a nonprofit association for the IT industry.
CompTIA’s “Second Annual Green IT Insights and Opportunities” study is based on an online survey of 650 IT and business executives involved in green initiatives or strategies in the United States, United Kingdom and Germany.
Among organizational priorities, green IT initiatives tend to rank around the middle, but this study suggests the trend line is headed upward. In 2009, only 9 percent of firms rated green IT as an upper-half organizational priority. That figure stands at 37 percent in 2011 and is expected to rise to 54 percent in 2013 — a nearly five-fold increase from 2009.
“Given the intense cost‐cutting focus during the tough economic times of the past few years as well as periods of high energy costs, it’s likely many firms eyed green strategies as a means to help the bottom line,” said Tim Herbert, vice president of research, CompTIA.
One in five firms currently have dedicated budget allocated for green IT initiatives, but 44 percent indicate they are moving in that direction. That’s potentially good news for the IT industry, as it may indicate there is a growing market opportunity for technology products and services that have a green component.
The CompTIA study also reveals that 35 percent of organizations report having a comprehensive green strategy for practices such as reducing energy consumption, equipment usage/design, recycling/product disposal, carbon footprint and employee behaviors. Additionally, 42 percent have a partial green strategy, while 24 percent have no strategy in place, though these firms may still engage in some green behaviors.
Looking ahead, among firms without a comprehensive green strategy, 48 percent expect to have one within two years. The remaining firms either expect a longer time horizon for adopting a strategy or are uncertain. This suggests many organizations continue to wrestle with the return on investment in green initiatives.
Part of the challenge is defining exactly what’s meant by the term green IT.
“Green IT remains a fuzzy concept for many,” Herbert said. “Use of the term and its interpretation vary widely.”
Reducing energy consumption, cited by 67 percent of respondents — and the recycling of obsolete IT products or e-waste, cited by 63 percent — are the practices most strongly associated with green initiatives, according to the CompTIA study.
“While technologies such as virtualization or cloud computing may go a long way towards optimizing resource use, fewer respondents currently make the association with green,” Herbert noted. “IT executives and respondents from large firms, those with more than 500 employees, are slightly more likely to view virtualization as a green strategy.”