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Green reaches tipping point

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An indepth study of IT organisations in Western Europe has found that almost half of European enterprises now have a formal green IT strategy in place.

On average, those companies expect to deliver 14,5% real cost savings in the next 12 months.
The IDC Green IT barometer, sponsored by Dell, included the views of 459 IT directors of European organisations with more than 1 000 employees and operating at least one datacentre. The average IT budget for each respondent this year is 160-million euros, meaning companies with a green IT strategy expect to save nearly 23.2 million euros per year.
According to Nathaniel Martinez, Program Director with IDC's European System and Infrastructure Solution Group: "Sustainability has emerged as a key topic of discussion for major corporate investment decisions. Understanding the drivers for pursuing a green agenda, but also identifying the hurdles organisations face and the best practices they can deploy, have seemed particularly relevant in the current economic environment."
The IDC Green IT Barometer identified two main drivers, external and internal to the organisation, which primarily motivate Green IT investments.
* Requirements to comply with regulation (72% of the European organisations surveyed); and
* Pressure to reduce cost (75%) through the deployment of energy-efficient, recyclable, and sustainable IT infrastructure (68%).
Green IT initiatives are not exclusively motivated by economic factors. They are often part of wider corporate objectives driven by the general management and the executive board of organisations. Sixty-one percent of European organisations reported their Green IT initiatives were part of a wider corporate and social responsibility (CSR) project, for example.
Similarly, 53% of the respondents indicated that the driving force behind their organisations' Green IT initiatives are the chief executives, including heads of IT.
The survey results also highlight the constraints and difficulties organisations face when going green, including the lack of industry guidance (25%) the shortfalls of metrics and performance measurements (29%) and the absence of corporate incentives (68%). Still, European IT directors are adamant that IT has an extremely important (45%) or important (36%) role to play in reducing organisation energy and carbon footprint and in supporting in the next three years.
"Corporate green IT investments are set to expand massively in the near term. Large European organisations already dedicated 7,6% of their IT budget on Green IT initiatives and the survey results indicate that Green IT will represent 9% of IT budgets two years from now," IDC's Martinez adds.
Dell aims for the Green IT barometer to become an annual measure of corporate progress towards achieving sustainable, environmentally positive IT policies.
Ben McDonald, client product brand manager, Dell South Africa comments: "At Dell we're producing technologies which will help our customers to improve their environmental performance, and, increasingly, to save money. This first edition of the barometer shows that saving money through a Green IT strategy is a reality, but isn't guaranteed. A green IT strategy has to be embedded in a company's culture if it is to succeed."