UK companies want green IT but don’t know how

Nearly all British businesses think that companies should be doing more to reduce their carbon footprints but most of them haven’t a clue how to go about it.

That’s according to a survey from the Green Technology Initiative (GTI), which found that 95 percent of U.K. businesses think carbon footprint reduction is vital to an overall green strategy, but seven out of ten have no target to reduce their own.

The Green Technology Initiative asserts that businesses believe in the concept of greener IT but fail to translate that into action. They are looking to suppliers and the Government to carry the responsibility for bringing down emissions.

Dan Sutherland, GTI founder and acting chair, said: “What we are doing in IT today is not sustainable. Systems efficiency is the cheapest and easiest way of reducing the carbon footprint of the work you do and delivered properly it has the benefit of bringing down costs across the board.

Whilst undoubtedly U.K. enterprises are willing to take action, many lack the incentive, knowledge and resources to make immediate changes.”

Is the GTI going about things in the right way to help make businesses greener though? Launched on 1 May at the U.K.’s Internet World event, its website has been, up until now, virtually content-free.

This is strange when the GTI’s founders have been reported as saying the GTI won’t talk about carbon offsetting or other long-term ideas but dispense practical advice on how to improve an organization’s impact right now. This might seem a bit of an own goal.

A GTI spokesperson said: “Content is going live on Monday to coincide with the press release,” and: “following the launch, the initiative focused on securing member partners from industry, government and the end-user community to provide a broad spectrum of knowledge and resources.”

Sutherland said they had been overwhelmed by interest in the GTI since the May launch. He is concerned that information on the site be complete and accurate and thinks that the GTI should be prepared for the long-haul rather than a brief life: “This is a long-term project. We’re not about selling things. It’s not a commercial project. It’s going to take a while to bed down.”

GTI and The Green Grid

One of the best-informed industry organizations concerned with data center power efficiency issues is The Green Grid, a consortium of IT companies and professionals. It has published white papers about data center power consumption, measurement and steps CIOs can take right now to reduce power consumption. It has 67 members, including Cisco, Intel, Microsoft, HP, Dell, Sun, EMC and APC.

Although The Green Grid covers power efficiency issues in IT there is no connection between it and the GTI. Sutherland said that The Green Grid: “is U.S.-centric, which is no bad thing, and concentrates on data center power efficiencies.”

The GTI is focused on the U.K. and includes IT equipment outside the data center in its ambit. The GTI might also be more relevant to smaller businesses, ones without a large data center.

Sutherland is the CEO of Carrenza, a company designing, building and managing hosted networks. Carrenza itself will be opening an industry leading ‘green’ data center this autumn.

Other GTI members include Cisco, network hosting company Global Crossing, Internet World, EDF Energy and Saatchi & Saatchi Interactive, a Carrenza customer.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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