IT makers ‘green’ up manufacturing act

Green IT

Major IT hardware makers are no longer ignoring the importance of green IT, a new report has claimed.

Released today, The Green IT Report 2008 The Computer Equipment Lifecycle Survey, compiled by consultancy Capgemini surveyed the likes of EMC, HP, IBM, Sun and Google (through its relationship with Intel) to assess their commitment to "conduct business fairly, reasonably and with consideration for the planet, its environment, natural resources and people".

The report found these businesses were adopting a range of initiatives designed to make themselves more environmentally friendly including the reuse of materials, waste recycling, using renewable energies and taking back packaging after removal.

But a relatively new trend the research identified is for manufacturers to look at what happens throughout a product's lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal - as part of their greener product propositions.

Brian Doherty, Capgemini outsourcing sustainability advisor and the report author found 30 per cent of materials used by the IT vendors surveyed were typically recycled.

And all Capgemini's partners surveyed procured at least some of the electricity used in the manufacturing process from renewable sources. For example, HP's Irish manufacturing facility is 90 per cent powered by wind-generated power saving 40,000 metric tonnes of CO2 this year.

Google pointed to its so-called "solar trees" thousands of solar panels that partially power the offices at the company's Mountain View campus in California. IBM's worldwide use of renewable energy increased from 2.7 per cent of its

electrical usage in 2005 to 7.3 per cent in 2006, equating to a year-on-year increase of 180 per cent. The report said both IBM and HP claim that they would procure even more electricity from renewable sources if it were available.

Reducing the amount of water used in the manufacturing process is a key focus of all surveyed partners. IBM stated that 12 per cent of all of the water used in its manufacturing facilities is recycled. HP, IBM and Sun all have self-imposed targets on reducing water used in the manufacturing process and EMC, through its closed-loop water systems, is active in the reduction of water use at its Franklin, Massachusetts, manufacturing facility.

Doherty concluded: "'Green' buzzwords are more than just marketing all of the relevant Capgemini technology partners back up product claims with significant investment amounting to billions of dollars."

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.