Green IT in sustainable businesses

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Extracts from a new book - Green IT for Sustainable Business Practice - written by green IT consultant Mark O'Neill have been published on the BusinessGreen website. The four-part serialization is summarized below:

Part 1 looks at the context behind green IT and why it is becoming increasingly important. Although IT is reportedly responsible for only 2% of worldwide carbon emissions it has the potential to significantly cut the remaining 98%. Businesses first need to identify and highlight the areas that are directly contributing to these emissions. For example the electricity consumption of PCs is growing by 5% per year, and electricity consumption can make up to 10% of even small businesses' IT budgets.

Part 2 looks at the importance of having stated targets in carbon emissions reduction, otherwise, he warns "there is a very high probability they will never be achieved." Enterprises need to define their environmental baseline, the cost of IT service provision, and the cost of investment and expected ROI for Green IT. This part also looks at the issue of carbon trading in the UK in some detail.

Part 3 looks at the requirement of businesses to manage their ICT waste and the impact of legislation such as the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE Directive).

And finally, part 4 looks at steps that businesses can take to reduce the amount of legacy IT equipment they use. Recommendations include: virtualization, data center management, cloud computing/SaaS and remote working. 

Anthony Plewes

After a Masters in Computer Science, I decided that I preferred writing about IT rather than programming. My 20-year writing career has taken me to Hong Kong and London where I've edited and written for IT, business and electronics publications. In 2002 I co-founded Futurity Media with Stewart Baines where I continue to write about a range of topics such as unified communications, cloud computing and enterprise applications.