25 September 2007 | Antony Barton
The UK government must buy more environmentally friendly and efficient computer systems, says a Cabinet Office minister.
At the fourth European Ministerial e-Government Conference in Lisbon last week Gillian Merron said the UK Chief Information Officer's Council should reduce the carbon footprint of government computers and improve the sustainability of public sector IT.
Merron said information technology across the world is responsible for about one billion tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.
"The government is by far the biggest user of IT in the UK, spending around £12 billion a year. We have a responsibility to set a positive example on the environment, so I am asking our IT leaders to work with industry to find new ways to improve the sustainability of government computer systems," she added.
"This doesn't just mean reducing the amount of electricity they use, but also looking at how they can be designed and built in ways that consume fewer materials and which make recycling easier."
The Chief Information Officer's Council is working with the Information Age Partnership, which encourages debate between IT chief executives and senior government officials, to see how public sector IT can become more sustainable. It will publish its initial report in 2008.