Survey highlights lack of public sector green policy

What comes to mind when asked, ‘What does green mean to your organization?’

To most public sector agencies, ‘green’ means increased energy efficiency in their data centres, according to a recent global survey released by Symantec Corp.

“When we asked, ‘What does green mean?’ over half of the respondents said that increasing efficiency of energy use was a critical or high priority for them,” said Sean Derrington, director of storage management at Cupertino, Calif.-based Symantec Corp.

Canadian respondents to the survey rated increasing energy efficiency as a high priority in the data centre, cited by 35 per cent. More than half, or 57 per cent, of Canadian managers said they are “somewhat” familiar with the concept of a green data centre.

Public sector respondents from the U.S. (no Canadian public sector data available from the survey at press time), which comprised 30 per cent of all U.S.-based respondents, mostly have an understanding of what green means with respect to the data centre, said Derrington.

There is, however, a big difference when it comes to what they are “actually doing about it,” said Derrington.

According to survey results, 59 per cent of public sector respondents in the U.S. don’t have a green policy, while 35 per cent said they have a green policy. On a global average, 48 per cent of respondents, both in public and private sector, have a green policy in place.

“(The public sector) view green as being energy efficient, but yet they don’t have a policy for green data centres. As well, they are very familiar with the concepts of green data centre, but yet they don’t have a green policy,” the Symantec executive said.

Lack of policies that pertain to a green agenda is a similar challenge being faced by the Canadian public sector, according to Alison Brooks, senior analyst for government insights at Toronto-based IDC Canada. And it’s not just on green technology alone, but on the overall green procurement in the public sector, she added.

“There’s some smattering of movement towards green transformation and procurement reform on a regional basis,” Brooks said. “But there hasn’t been like a holistic, overarching, pan-national movement that’s been adopted yet, despite the fact that there’s a bunch of hotspots.” She cited British Columbia’s zero carbon footprint commitment and the federal government’s commitment “at least to the green agenda” as some of the few indications of a green strategy from the government.

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