What’s it mean to be green in the digital age?

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Lora Brill
EMEA Upstream Sustainability Services

IT is a tremendous resource in the fight against climate change. So much of our gains in energy efficiency are due to data analysis and just in time communication that we sometimes forget about the climate impacts of the IT industry. Google’s recent carbon footprint report declares the company is responsible for approximately the same amount of carbon emissions as the United Nations, and that the footprint continues to climb. This is just a fraction of the carbon emitted to use Google, as related emissions, such as the energy consumed by a user’s computer, are excluded.

It is plain good sense to track and manage the carbon emissions of IT services, data centres and telecommunications networks. Yet, The Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2011 Global 500 Report on the largest organisations in the world found “the sector with the lowest average performance score was Information Technology (band C).” In 2012, the Carbon Disclosure Project will release its first Sustainable ICT (IT) module, designed to create more transparency on carbon performance and management in a sector that is crucial to achieving our climate change mitigation goals throughout the global economy. Things are changing in the IT sector, slowly but surely, as awareness and financial costs of environmental issues build amongst consumers, suppliers and investors.

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