Most companies have no carbon footprint strategy

Nearly 70 per cent of UK businesses have no targets to reduce their carbon emissions, but nearly all agree that reducing energy costs of IT systems is critical to cutting greenhouse gases, according to a new survey.

The study, carried out by campaign group Green Technology Initiative, found that only 24 per cent of UK companies put reducing their carbon footprint as a core corporate strategy. Another seven per cent have targets to cut down on CO2 emissions but admitted it was "not a priority at the moment."

The survey of 100 IT managers, consultants, network and general managers, found that 79 per cent do not link power costs to hardware spend or IT budgets. The organisation said a small server costs more to power during its lifecycle than it costs to purchase. The survey also found that 95 per cent of respondents do not know how economical their IT systems are because they have no means to measure efficiency.

Dan Sutherland, founder and acting chair of the Green Technology Initiative said that 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," he said. "Whilst undoubtedly UK enterprises are willing to take action, many lack the incentive, knowledge and resources to make immediate changes."

But the survey found that companies are beginning to get the message over turning systems off overnight. But over 50 per cent of respondents still did not switch off computers and server at the end of the working day and those that did not did so recently.

The overwhelming majority of respondents are looking to vendors, hardware manufacturers and government to get them and the country on target to reduce CO2 emissions by 20 per cent before 2010, but according to the Sutherland this was a target "we are not on track to meet."

"Businesses are very aware of green issues but they are failing to translate that into effective action. 2010 is not far away and IT accounts for a significant amount of greenhouse emissions, so now is the time to take greater responsibility and tackle IT energy consumption," said Dan Sutherland.

"But business is clearly not getting the help and support it needs to take that responsibility. Both industry and the Government need to work together to help businesses make the changes they clearly want to make," he said.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.