Green sessions top analysts’ agenda

In a sign that issues regarding technology’s environmental impact are climbing the IT executive’s agenda, both Gartner and IDC plan to devote a session to green IT in their upcoming annual conferences.

IDC will present a special track on green information technology at the European ICT Forum 2007, which is being held 10 and 11 September in Berlin. The IDC session will focus on green IT as part of a company’s corporate and social responsibility agenda.

Similarly, Gartner will host a peer exchange workshop at its annual Gartner CIO Summit, which will take place in Barcelona on 11 and 12 September. The Gartner workshop, which will be closed to the media, will provide CIO delegates with “tools to identify what actions enterprises and IT vendors need to take and how to take them”.

In a statement, IDC said that for most the initial driver to green the IT infrastructure was cost cutting, but scarcity of resources and increasing energy costs was making it increasingly attractive. Legislation was also pushing change, and IT managers were taking green issues into consideration when taking to suppliers and production, it said.

Martin Hingley, chief research officer at IDC EMEA, said: “IT managers are taking into account the green credentials of suppliers when making purchasing decisions, and ‘greenness’ is already gaining traction in the marketplace and could serve as a key differentiator in purchasing decisions.”

Hingley added that European governments have put in place more stringent legislation than other countries, making it illegal for ICT vendors not to have some degree of ‘greenness’ in their current product lines. However, he said there was a danger of over-legislating around the environment.

“In order to be compliant with new legislation, companies are going to have to think about a whole new layer of measurement, control and cost that they have not been concerned about before. However, by putting legislation in place too quickly, the risk is that you force businesses to address issues that are ancillary to their business. It could end up commercially disadvantaging European companies as they have to face compliance issues that are not enforced in other countries.”

Hingley added that a viable corporate and social responsibility (CSR) strategy involved doing something “above and beyond the legislation” to establish a reputation as a good citizen. “It also makes EMEA a natural place in which to create and develop worldwide CSR and green ICT strategies.”