|09/10/2009 - Green is the new gold|
There’s now broad scientific consensus that we need to reduce carbon emissions by as much as 80% by the middle of this century if we are to stabilise current world temperatures if no action is taken, the implications are unthinkable… greenhouse gases double pre-industrial levels as early as 2035, average temperature increase of over 2 °C, with more than a 50% chance that the temperature increase could exceed 5°C… equivalent to the change in average temperatures from the last ice age to today… now that is inconceivable…
Why this is happening might still be up for debate, but the fact that this now represents a very real challenge is undeniable. For our collective part the technology industries are responding… and Green is now very firmly the currency of choice… as all hi-tech companies continue to scramble over themselves. This greening of technology probably owes as much to money as it does about saving the planet. At the corporate level data centre costs have soared.
The simple truth is that Green IT remains a very, very complex issue – a tangle of technology, power consumption versus costs, geo-politics, brand leveraging, board pressure and consumer perception. Some organisations are making progress, good progress….. and without any adverse impact on business performance or profitability.
But, as most green events and discussion forums highlight – most are still yet to grab this issue and run with it, now further compounded by the global recession. Attitudes towards Green IT are in no way cynical, but the undeniable sense when IT decision makers congregate is that green business drivers will never top profitability as the key business driver. The adoption of new green technologies remains overwhelmingly driven by the bottom line. All too often there is an acute awareness that the green imperatives need to be underpinned by a cost-cutting agenda, with measures designed to reduce IT’s power consumption, drive business efficiency and leverage the value of technology - ‘eco-efficiency’ and ‘profit’ are no longer considered mutually exclusive.
It’s easy to get carried away by the green wave, it can look suspiciously like a fad, a bubble that’s going to burst, but adoption is slowly and steadily ramping up – it looks like a sustainable trend. Green IT is as a “profound economic challenge” and becoming increasingly embedded in organisations.
2007 was the ‘Green IT’ tipping point – a case of one in, all in, for suppliers and users, the Green agenda gained serious momentum during 2008. The National Computing Centre's (NCC) ongoing research sees the Green 2.0 debate driven largely by the continuing media focus as well as the clear opportunity for all businesses to save money and avoid cost through increased energy efficiency. 2009 has seen an acceleration of the necessary debate, innovation and exploration focusing on how IT can create business efficiencies, which in turn support the climate change agenda.
Ian Jones, NCC Head of Content and Publishing