Analyst warns on pending green IT EU legislation

Gartner has published the results of written responses from the European Commission (EC) that reveal plans to introduce more green IT' policies and regulation.

Viviane Reding and Stavros Dimas, European Commissioners for Information Society and Media and the Environment respectively, revealed EC plans to influence the development and buying of more energy efficient IT in correspondence with Andrea Di Maio, research vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner.

Di Maio told IT PRO: "Future initiatives can be expected in areas such as public procurement as well as research and development funding."

The European Union (EU) executive response said it was in the process of finalising its definition of energy efficient or green' IT before introducing new regulations around the governance of public sector IT contract procurements.

Any new regulations would affect the likes of the Treasury's Office of Government Commerce (OGC), which is responsible for overseeing the procurement of large, UK public sector IT, according to best practice principles and published in the tenders listing of the Official Journal of the European Communities (OJEC).

But Di Maio added that a requirement to meet green IT standards could squeeze the smaller, specialist independent software vendor (ISV) or systems integrator (SI). "Larger vendors and Sis are already looking at this area, but smaller tier two and three public sector suppliers may find it hard to compete," he said.

The EC responses said research and development (R&D) spending into green IT would be outlined in the EU's seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development. But again, Di Maio said: "I can't see any differences between the current, sixth framework and the one being drafted.

"It is less likely that any major change in Eco-labelling and pan-European business regulation to use green IT products and practices will come from Brussels," he added.

But the EU commissioners' response also suggested the likes of its year-old waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) or restricted use of hazardous substances (RoHS) directives would remain its main means if influencing greener business IT practices.

Di Maio said the EC's scope was limited to initiatives around more energy efficient lighting, building management and teleworking not developing more energy efficient data centres and PCs. "Most EU activities that relate to green' and IT' focus on how IT can be used to have a positive impact in the environment as opposed to greening' IT," he said.

Miya Knights

A 25-year veteran enterprise technology expert, Miya Knights applies her deep understanding of technology gained through her journalism career to both her role as a consultant and as director at Retail Technology Magazine, which she helped shape over the past 17 years. Miya was educated at Oxford University, earning a master’s degree in English.

Her role as a journalist has seen her write for many of the leading technology publishers in the UK such as ITPro, TechWeekEurope, CIO UK, Computer Weekly, and also a number of national newspapers including The Times, Independent, and Financial Times.