A high proportion of IT professionals responsible for "green IT" programmes are unsure whether their organisations are considering carbon pricing, and whether it is a factor in their decision-making.
A recent Gartner survey found that 36% of respondents who are responsible for green IT programmes in organisations said it was possible, or they didn't know, if carbon pricing was influencing their organisation's planning for the next 24 months.
A total of 45,7% of respondents said that carbon pricing was not influencing their organisation's planning, while 18,3% says it was influencing their organisation's planning for the next 24 months.
The survey results indicate that for most countries, the percentage of organisations planning ahead for carbon pricing goes beyond those obliged to consider it under established regulations.
However, Gartner advised IT management teams that haven't already done so, to start building the processes and information systems to gather the necessary data as this can be time-consuming and organisations are likely to be subject to carbon reporting and pricing in the future.
In an international survey completed in December 2008, Gartner asked 626 organisations about their plans for carbon reporting and pricing, and current and future implementation of carbon reporting, tracking or management systems. The respondents represented an even spread of sectors and company sizes from 1 000 to more than 10 000 employees.
"While the number of organisations using or planning to use carbon tracking systems exceeds those legally required to do so, given the inevitable requirements to support carbon reporting in the future, the percentage of organisations preparing is low," says Simon Mingay, research vice-president at Gartner. "Regardless of actual or anticipated regulations, midsize and large organisations should at least be building carbon information systems, because, whether in a developed or developing economy, pressure will come down the supply chain to be transparent about carbon emissions."
The survey provided some noteworthy responses from individual countries when respondents asked if the possibility of carbon pricing is influencing their organisation's planning for the next 24 months. The UK and France recorded some of the lowest percentages at 7,9% and 10,5%, respectively, while in India and China, 21,1% and 20%of organisations, respectively, indicated that carbon pricing was influencing planning.
Gartner analyst say this is particularly surprising for the UK, given that the country's Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) goes into effect in 2010 and is estimated to affect 5 000 organisations.
Gartner also asked the same respondents about their carbon reporting, tracking and management systems, as well as their intentions to implement or extend such systems.
The results showed that, as a region, Western Europe is best prepared, with 32% saying that they have some kind of system in place – twice as many as the Asia/Pacific region or the US. However, there were some stark contrasts with 2,6% of French organisations, compared with 74,4% of German organisations having such systems in place. Most of those organisations with systems in place had in-house developments (mostly spreadsheets).
A further question asked of the respondents was whether they would be implementing or extending carbon reporting, tracking or management software during the next 18 months. The results showed that most organisations are not yet thinking about how carbon pricing or reporting requirements will affect their business and have no plans to implement a carbon reporting, tracking or management system to give them visibility of their greenhouse gas emissions in this period.
"This apparent lack of preparation, and the inevitability that most organisations will come under increased scrutiny from customers, investors, partners, key stakeholders and, eventually, regulators, should come as a wake-up call to policymakers, boards, senior leadership teams and CIOs," says Mingay.
Australia has made the most rapid progress overall in this area in the last 15 months, and Gartner expects that to continue during the next 18 months. The proportion of organisations anticipating implementing carbon management tools during the next 18 months in the Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region was low at 17 percent and the US was slightly more than 18%.
"Organisations all over the world need to get more serious about greenhouse gas reporting," says Mingay. "Despite the lack of specific regulations, midsize and large organisations in developed economies need to recognise that they will be paying for their emissions at some point – it's just a matter of when, how much and through what kind of mechanism. Regardless of the recession, organisations will find themselves under increasing pressure from stakeholders, including investors and customers, to be more transparent about emissions and reduction programmes."