Is green technology losing its colour?

Is green technology losing its colour?

We are reaching a critical juncture in the progress of environmentally-friendly IT strategy

The progress of green computing is in danger of becoming a classic technological chicken and egg.

After two years of bold intentions from vendors and IT managers alike, now that hard cash needs to be put on the table there seems to be an outbreak of finger pointing.

According to research by The Corporate IT Forum, suppliers say they are not seeing sufficient buyer demand to develop green products. IT leaders are saying that market pressures are not yet strong enough to make the business case to their boardroom to invest in environmentally-friendly technology. And everyone is saying that government incentives have little bite.

There is no doubt that the IT community buys into the principle of green computing and understands why it has become a serious consideration.

But only a few large early adopters are making real progress ­ and typically these are organisations with a wider green policy that is part of their overall corporate marketing strategy, such as HSBC and Marks & Spencer.

Most IT projects labelled as green are, in fact, cost-cutting programmes to reduce energy spend ­certainly a worthwhile reason to progress, but the green badge is often tagged on afterwards.

A common theme from the IT leaders that Computing talks to is the lack of best practice and benchmarking to judge the impact of the problem.

Vendors that push their green credentials are often just repackaging existing products that their marketing team have realised can be promoted as environmentally friendly.

There is little independent best practice on how to implement an effective green IT strategy. And even if you do, how can you measure its success without published benchmarks to compare with leaders in the field?

We are reaching a critical juncture in the greening of technology. IT managers need to build on the progress they have made in highlighting the problem ­ but they also need active support from suppliers, business leaders and government departments to make the progress we all want to achieve.