IT departments that reduce energy usage in the datacentre are well positioned to the energy-savings initiatives across their organisation, according to Chris Mines, senior VP at Forrester.
Businesses that fail to create an environmental action plan risk missing out on opportunities to cut energy usages and costs, Mines told delegates at the Green IT Expo in London.
The drive to reduce energy consumption represents an opportunity for IT to change their relationships with the rest of the business, and "position IT as a leader for the business", Mines said.
"Now, IT can become an enabler at a strategic level for the company," he said.
Most companies plan to continue with green IT projects, despite the current economic climate, according to a recent survey conducted by Forrester that Mines detailed at the conference.
Cost cutting is the main driver for companies pursuing a green agenda, the global study of 1,022 IT professionals found.
The survey asked respondents to list the three main motivations' for their company to pursue green IT projects. The most popular driver, 67 percent, for firms was to reduce energy related operational expenses. Thirty four percent of companies said green IT would help them cut IT operating expenses, such as maintenance and labour.
The survey also found a slow but steady growth in green IT action plans. In October 2007, 15 percent of firms were implementing an action plan and a further 24 percent were creating one. One year on, 27 percent were creating an environmental plan, and a further 25 percent of firms were in the midst of implementing one.
Fifty nine percent of firms include environmental criteria when evaluating and selecting an IT purchase.
"Sustainability is sustainable and not just a bubble or fad," Mines told delegates.
But Mines urged IT departments to take the lead on saving energy projects in the company, by using its vast knowledge of the company's networks, equipment, work processes and facilities.
"IT must lead the business, and society, toward a lower carbon future," said Mines.