Painting the Co-op IT green

A new point-of-sale system lets devices sleep at night, saving money and energy at The Co-operative Group

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The clamour for green IT raised by the spiralling cost of energy, corporate social responsibility mandates and regulations around power consumption and electronic waste disposal is beginning to have an impact on IT infrastructures in ways that aren’t just confined to the datacentre.

Research by analysts Datamonitor found that over 75 per cent of CIO respondents considered eco-friendly computing an important element in their IT strategy, while 15 per cent rated it as their top IT priority.

“While green IT practices such as energy-efficient hardware, hosted infrastructure and datacentre virtualisation have all been around for a while now, it is only recently that companies have begun incorporating green IT in their core business strategies,” says Vamshi Mokshagundam, technology analyst at Datamonitor.

So it is that, with one eye on environmental responsibilities and the other on budgets, CIOs are beginning to explore the possibilities of embracing broader eco-friendly IT strategies.

Democratically run by members who pay as little as £1 to join, the 145-year-old Co-operative Group has long made ethical responsibility a core part of its brand value. Even before last month’s agreement to buy Somerfield, its business responsibilities grew in scale in July 2007 when it merged with the UK’s second-largest such concern, United Co-operatives. The new society is the world’s largest consumer co-operative with 2.5 million active trading members and more than 80,000 employees, and covers food, financial services (including online bank Smile), travel, pharmacy, funerals and legal services.

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