Green IT Around the World Suffering from Growing Pains

Green IT Around the World Suffering from Growing Pains

Fujitsu surveyed 1,000 CIOs and senior information and communication technology managers to assess the maturity of sustainable ICT practices around the globe -- and the company's findings read like a restless teen's report card.

"Immature and possibly at risk" is how I'd sum up the results presented in Fujitsu's second annual global benchmark report of ICT sustainability.

The report, just out this week, is based on the responses to 80 questions about companies' sustainability practices in five key areas: product lifecycle, end user, enterprise, metrics and something Fujitsu calls "enablement," which has to do with how firms use IT to manage their carbon footprint.

Here's how Fujitsu summed up the results:

"As we found in 2010, there is a relative lack of maturity of ICT Sustainability policies, practices and technologies. Although some industries and countries are maturing ... the overall performance is relatively low.

"Not only is the maturity low, the overall index has declined slightly from 2010, indicating that some of the buzz has gone from Green IT and that it is not being given priority or initiatives have begun to come unstuck."

The responses were culled from IT execs and managers in seven countries -- Australia, Canada, China, India, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Canada, China and New Zealand were added to the survey this year and one of the newcomers walked away with the best all-around score on Fujitsu's sustainability index.

Canada topped the index with a score of 60.3, the U.K. was second best with 58.3 and the U.S. placed third with a score of 56. Here's a look at the survey's country-by-country results:

The highest possible score was 100, and if translated to letter grades, the top scorers' marks would have hovered in the range of a D by a generous grader. It was the second year that firms' IT sustainability practices were knocked for lacking maturity, which explains Fujitsu's stern comments at the start of this year's report.

It's important to keep in mind that while the commercial computer technology industry is in its sixth decade -- Fujitsu opened Japan's first computer showroom in 1958 -- sustainable IT is still a relatively new concept.

From that perspective, the report offers some good news for green ICT practices:

"On the positive side we have seen an increase in ICT solutions that include ICT Sustainability at the core, such as Cloud Computing, the design of sustainable data centers and the increasing use of renewable energy onsite."

Among the other key findings in this year's report:

Including ICT power consumption in the ICT budget makes for better performers: The single most important reason ICT departments do not prioritize ICT sustainability, or feel they have a compelling reason to do so, is the lack of visibility of ICT power consumption.

• Bigger companies perform better on ICT sustainability: They are more likely to be aware of the cost of ICT's energy consumption, and to have installed technologies that lead to greater efficiency, such as virtualization.

Media/Communications is the best sector, manufacturing is the worst: With a score of 58.4, the ICT/Media/Communications sector scored highest overall, while manufacturing scored lowest at 51.2. The same industries tend to do better or worse in all countries.

Success is possible, and some companies have gotten there already: Though the report doesn't name names, there are clear leaders and laggards in each sector. In financial services, for example, the highest-scorer earned 86.3 points, while the lowest got just 20.9. And one wholesaler in the USA achieved a score 97.0 out of a possible 100.

The report is available from Fujitsu with registration.

Image CC licensed by Flickr user bugeaters.