Top IT leaders back green survey

IT chiefs from leading UK organisations are driving environmental awareness in their workplace, by taking part in research designed to measure IT's impact on the environment.

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IT chiefs from leading UK organisations are driving environmental awareness in their workplace by taking part in research that will track how far the IT community understands environmental issues and what steps are being taken to reduce IT's impact on the environment.

CIOs and IT directors from organisations including the British Medical Association (BMA), Ford, Sony UK, John Lewis, E.ON UK, CQS, the University of Cumbria and Lloyds TSB have worked together to launch the green IT survey.

And the IT chiefs have formed the Environmental IT Leadership Team (EILT), which is the UK's first independent expert user group focused on exploring and publishing best practice sustainable IT strategies. EILT is chaired by the environmental charity Global Action Plan and backed by internet solutions provider Logicalis.

Gary Hird, technical strategy manager at John Lewis Partnership, said of the survey: "Green computing is an opportunity for us all to clearly demonstrate IT's value in helping our companies tackle an urgent and global issue. It is vital that we do a good job collectively and that means being open about the specific problems we're facing and the solutions we're pursuing. The survey will provide a 'current state' understanding of companies' green IT initiatives and the obstacles we must overcome to help them succeed. The more organisations who respond to the survey, the better that understanding will be."

David Benaron, IT service delivery director at Lloyds TSB, also welcomed the initiative. "Lloyds TSB have set some challenging targets and are now working with our vendors to help achieve our 30% reduction target by 2012," he said.

"I would encourage my fellow senior IT professionals to participate in this survey as it will help them to review their own level of engagement and will also help to focus their minds on what they might need to think about in this area going forward. The results will be used to highlight ‘best practice’ and show how companies adopting this ‘greener’ approach can ultimately benefit in the years to come."

Over the past 18 months, the focus on carbon emissions reduction had significantly increased and many major companies in the UK were reviewing their strategy, added Benaron.

The Green IT survey will form part of a larger piece of research conducted by Global Action Plan called ‘An Inefficient Truth’. This research will be launched at an event at the House of Commons in early December, with the backing of Peter Ainsworth MP, shadow secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs and maverick MP Alan Simpson.

Phil Molyneux, head of ICT services for the University of Cumbria, said: “I believe it to be essential for CIOs to complete this green IT survey to provide check and balance data comparisons with what is being put forward by IT suppliers and within the media. Armed with this information, we will be in a strong position to focus the attention of IT vendors and IT user companies (big and small) in understanding the benefits of pursuing a Green IT agenda."

Martin Kelmanson, head of the ICT division at BMA, voiced his approval: "IT professionals can make a positive impact on the greening of IT by completing the Green IT survey. This is a significant opportunity to participate in the green democracy of the ever increasing complexity and demands of the digital world. It will be a practical forum to share best practice with industry peers, suppliers and users to make a positive impact on the way IT organisations across the UK tackle climate change.

"Global Action Plan is taking a lead role in going beyond the ‘Green IT’ hype and taking practical action to help IT organisations reduce their impact on the environment, recognising that the IT industry and IT organisations have plenty of opportunities to be part of the solution on environmental sustainability," said Nathan Bishop, head of infrastructure design and coordination at E.ON.

"I believe that vendors and enterprises should develop an IT environmental policy, strategy, and action plan, and this survey will help to pinpoint areas where behaviours need to change and awareness needs to increase."

The survey has been put together by Computerworld UK in partnership with Global Action Plan. The findings will help Global Action Plan as it seeks to determine the baseline on green IT. Participants have the chance to win a green audit worth almost £2,000. Respondents will also be entered into a prize draw to win one of 10 places at the House of Commons launch of the Green IT report on Monday 3 December.

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